Local News

UNC Police Officer Accepts Old Job, Still Plans...

Posted December 12, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— A UNC-Chapel Hill police officer who said he was fired because he cited a trustee's daughter for underage drinking has agreed to return to his job.

But Lt. Ed Swain said Thursday that he won't drop his lawsuit charging the university with retaliation in his Nov. 19 firing.

His decision came a day after Chancellor Michael Hooker said Swain would be reinstated with back pay but would receive one week's suspension without pay for falsifying a time sheet.

Swain contends that he was targeted unfairly because he spoke out about the university's handling of an underage drinking ticket he issued to the daughter of university trustee Billy Armfield.

Swain filed a grievance accusing his superiors of trying to fix the ticket he issued Sept. 27 to Armfield's daughter. He presented his case before a three-member panel Wednesday.

``I'm trying to clear my reputation,'' he said.

Hooker suspended Swain for visiting The Chapel Hill News offices Oct. 30 while on duty and not recording the break on his time card. An employee at the paper mentioned the visit to a friend who works for the university, and word got back to Swain's boss.

According to a letter released by the university Wednesday, Associate Vice Chancellor Carolyn Elfland told Swain that he was not a victim of retaliation, but had deliberately concealed a two-hour absence while acting as a shift supervisor.

The letter said Swain was given five opportunities to correct his time sheet but declined.

In her letter, Elfland also noted that Swain had been the subject of 10 internal-affairs investigations since 1995, the most of any police department employee.

``I think she was kind of desperate, trying to use whatever she could to try to distort my reputation,'' Swain said Thursday.

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