Local News

Fired Chapel Hill police officer fights to return to force

Posted February 20, 2013

— 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.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • tinchrus Feb 22, 2013

    I have known this officer for 19 years, he is an honorable man with a impeccable service record. In addition to his 14 years with Chapil Hill police department; he served honorably in the US Army for 5 years. His honesty and integrity are above reproach. There were at least 30 of his colleagues standing behind him at this hearing. This is an injustice to our Chapil hill police department. Let alone to Corporal King. Hopefully this panel of 5 will right this wrong.

  • HappyGirl08 Feb 22, 2013

    Well, there is a lot of wrong on both sides here I think.

  • pbc0203 Feb 22, 2013

    Ridiculous! You're talking about a man's career & livelihood. If it was you, or your brother, or husband, or father, I doubt you'd say 'he got what he deserved.' The punishment does not fit the violation. You wouldn't want life in prison for running a stop sign.
    Stop wasting taxpayers money on this case, give him his job back, and keep convicted felons behind bars so they can't shoot Troopers!

  • JMackneil Feb 21, 2013

    good lord..everyone is pretty high and mighty..."it wasn't the only strike against him"...you must be crazy if u are a cop with limited time to take off and have never called in sick b/c only 2 people can take off at a time and didn't call in sick. we work 12 hour shifts and only a certain number of people can take off at a time..not true to those who work a non-essential 9-5 job with a lunch break. what a shame.

  • turtledove Feb 21, 2013

    The guy would have been better off if his supervisors saw him stealing. He would have kept his job and everyone would have looked the other way. He didn't lie he told them what he was going to do. Unfortunately this person was made an example of to scare the masses for something else going on.

  • Sherlock Feb 21, 2013

    And there are others including the chief that have NEVER done this????

  • mpheels Feb 21, 2013

    As an employee of the Town of Chapel Hill, he receives between 12 and 26 paid vacation days a year (dependent of years served), 12 paid sick days, 11 paid holidays (or compensatory pay/time off if he has to work holidays), and 3 days per year to attend funerals or loved ones (if needed). As an adult, it is his responsibility to budget and use his vacation leave over the course of the year. If he was using sick leave for a vacation, he either had already used all of his vacation time for the year, wanted to save his vacation for something "better," or knew his request for vacation time off would not be approved so he planned on just calling in. I agree with other who have said that termination might be harsh, but I'm guessing his misuse of sick leave wasn't the only strike against him.

  • Relic Feb 21, 2013

    A cop who lies to anyone in charge (even if another supervisor "knows" about it), even on what in another job would be a "minor" issue, should be terminated. Period. The difference between a good cop and a bad cop is integrity and once you've lied you've destroyed that with your agency. Period. You lie, you're done.

  • heelsgirl05 Feb 21, 2013

    If he was going to call in sick, then he probably knew that he couldnt get the time off anyways.

  • ICTrue Feb 21, 2013

    "His supervisors should have been fired as well." Morrigan

    Even if one of them is a woman?