Fired Chapel Hill police officer fights to return to force
Posted February 20, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — A former Chapel Hill police officer who lost his job last year for violating the department sick leave policy says he deserves to go back to work.
Cpl. Chris King appeared Wednesday before a personnel appeals committee, which will make a recommendation to the town manager about whether to reinstate King within the next two weeks.
The Chapel Hill Police Department contends that King lied when he used sick leave time for a family vacation last April. King's supervisors recommended that King be suspended for a day or two, but Chief Chris Blue decided instead to fire him, saying he put his credibility as an officer in jeopardy.
King, who was with the department for 14 years, admitted violating policy, but said he was punished too harshly.
"I've worked very hard to keep a clean name. My evaluations have nothing but 'meets and exceeds.'" King said. "I've worked very hard not only to serve the public of Chapel Hill but every citizen that comes through the town of Chapel Hill."
He added that he told his supervisors ahead of time that he was going to Florida but would be calling in sick.
His attorney, Travis Payne, said King should be reinstated.
"He should not have been fired. He should have been given two days off, and he would have accepted it," Payne said. "We wouldn't have been here (with) all of these resources being spent."
A town attorney, however, said at Wednesday's hearing that King's actions were egregious enough to warrant termination.