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Town manager upholds termination decision by police chief

MELISSA REID

Staff Writer

mreid@lbknews.com

Town Manager Bruce St. Denis has made the determination that Police Chief Al Hogle had just cause to terminate former police officer Jessica Anderson.

Anderson had appealed Chief Hogle’s decision to terminate her for an incident which occurred on Jun. 14, 2009. In her appeal, which took place Dec. 8, 2009, Anderson claimed that Hogle had not proven, and could not prove, that just cause existed for her termination or for some of the charges against her.

“Based on all of the foregoing, the Chief of Police/Town has proven by a preponderance of the evidence that just cause existed for Anderson’s termination,” stated St. Denis in the appeal document.

The incident, which resulted in Anderson’s eventual termination on Sept. 4, 2009, began when she arrived Jun. 14 in the 6500 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive to contact James Menendez and request that he move his vehicle. The vehicle was parked on the median in front of his residence, and was blocking the traffic’s view of the roadway, according to police. Instead of the confrontation ending in the vehicle being moved or in a traffic citation, it ended with Anderson using profanity and arresting Menendez in front of his children.

Hogle held a pre-disciplinary hearing before her termination in which he reviewed the videotape of the incident, considered Anderson’s statement, consulted other police chiefs in the state of Florida, and concluded that Anderson should be terminated. Hogle also conducted a departmental investigation, according to the Anderson appeal document.

“Hogle determined that Anderson: escalated a parking violation into an alleged incident for which she arrested Menendez; lacked probable cause for the arrest; used vulgar language with Menendez in front of other adults and small children; and wrote reports containing inaccurate statements that were inconsistent with the evidentiary video and with each other,” according to the appeal documents.

At the pre-disciplinary hearing, Anderson expressed regret and apologized for her actions on June 14.

“I first want to apologize to you that my actions have brought us here today.  I want you to understand that I do realize that my actions on June 14, 2009 were both inappropriate and uncharacteristic of me.  I come before you today to let you know that I am truly sorry for the actions and behavior that I displayed while dealing with Mr. Menendez.  I found myself in a situation that became very stressful, very quickly, and unfortunately I did not react as the professional that I am.  I do not offer you excuses about my behavior because there are none to give…There is no denying that I should not have used the profanity that I did, especially in front of the small children.  Again, I allowed myself to react to an individual when I should have maintained my professional demeanor…” Anderson stated at the pre-disciplinary hearing.

Anderson also stated that if she could change what happened that day, she would have simply left a citation on Menendez’s truck.

In the appeal document, Hogle listed eight charges cited against Anderson, and St. Denis had the responsibility of determining whether each charge was proven through a preponderance of the evidence.

Now that the Town Manager has made his determination that Hogle was justified in the termination of Anderson through the town appeals process, Anderson’s only method of appeal is litigation.

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2 Responses for “Town manager upholds termination decision by police chief”

  1. Falcon195 says:

    The officer could face civil litigation.

  2. JAmes says:

    And where is she today? Working at another police department I assume?

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