No person appointed to a position in the Police Department, pursuant to these rules and regulations, shall be suspended without pay, removed or reduced in rank except for the following reasons:
Physical or mental disability affecting the officer's ability to continue in service, in which case the officer shall receive an honorable discharge from service;
Neglect or violation of any official duty;
Violation of any law of this commonwealth which provides that such violation constitutes a misdemeanor or felony;
Inefficiency, neglect, intemperance, disobedience of orders or conduct unbecoming an officer;
Intoxication while on duty; or
Engaging or participating in conducting of any political or election campaign while on duty or in uniform or while using Borough property otherwise than to exercise the person's own right of suffrage;
A statement of any charges made against any officer so employed shall be furnished to the officer within five days after the same are filed with the Commission.
No officer shall be removed for religious, racial or political reasons.
Whenever a police officer is suspended, removed or reduced in rank, the specific charges warranting such actions shall be stated in writing by the Borough Council. The charges shall be stated clearly and in sufficient detail to enable the officer to understand the charges and to allow the officer an opportunity to respond to those charges. The charges shall specify the subsection of § A208-24 which provides the basis for the disciplinary action as well as an explanation of the factual circumstances upon which the Borough Council relied in finding a violation of § A208-24.
Within five days after the Borough Council has voted to impose the disciplinary action, a written statement of the charges shall be delivered to the officer either by personal service or by certified registered mail. In addition, the charges shall notify the officer of the right to appeal under § A208-26 of these rules and regulations. A copy of the statement of charges shall also be served upon the members of the Civil Service Commission within the same allotted time.
Any police officer who has been suspended, removed or reduced in rank, may appeal the decision of the Borough Council by requesting a hearing with the Civil Service Commission. In the event an officer aggrieved by such a decision is entitled by a collective bargaining agreement to pursue a grievance on the matter, the officer must elect to pursue the matter either under the processes in place under the collective bargaining agreement or under these rules and regulations. Once an election of remedies is made, the alternate procedure is waived. When chosen, the civil service hearing process is as follows:
The hearing request must be received in writing by the Secretary of the Commission at 767 Fifth Street, Oakmont, PA 15139, requesting a hearing, within 10 days after the police officer received notice of the discipline requesting a hearing. The officer may make written answers to any charges filed not later than the date fixed for the hearing. Failure of the officer to provide written answers to any of the charges shall not be deemed an admission by the officer. The Commission shall schedule a hearing within 10 days from the officer's written request for a hearing unless continued by the Commission for cause at the request of the Borough Council or the officer. Notwithstanding this provision, the failure of the Commission to hold a hearing within 10 days from the filing of the charges in writing shall not result in the dismissal of the charges filed.
At any hearing, the officer against whom the charges have been made may be present and represented by counsel, may call witnesses and present testimony and documentation in defense. The Borough may also be represented by counsel, call witnesses and present evidence as is necessary to support the charges. A stenographic record of all testimony shall be taken at every hearing and preserved by the Commission. In the event the charges are dismissed, the record shall be sealed and not be available for public inspection.
In conducting the hearing, the Commission's standard of review shall be to determine whether sufficient evidence has been presented to support the statutory reason for the disciplinary action. If the Commission finds that sufficient evidence has been introduced to support the charge, the Commission shall not modify the penalty imposed by the Borough Council unless it finds that the penalty imposed was arbitrary, discriminatory or an abuse of the board's discretion. In considering the appropriateness of the discipline, the Commission shall not substitute its judgment for that of the Borough Council. The Commission may request post hearing briefs, and shall issue a written decision containing specific findings of fact and conclusions of law within 60 days of receipt of the hearing transcript.
In the event that the Commission fails to uphold the charges, then the officer shall be reinstated with full pay for the period of the suspension, removal or reduction in rank. No charges related to the suspension, removal or reduction in rank shall be officially recorded in the officer's official personnel records, nor may any of these charges be held against the officer for future merit pay raises or promotional opportunities.
All testimony shall be given under oath administered by the Chairperson, or in the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson. The Commission shall have the power to issue subpoenas as set forth in § A208-15 of these rules and regulations.
Unless the Council or the person sought to be suspended, removed or reduced in rank requests that the proceedings before the Commission be open to the public, the proceedings before the Commission pursuant to this section shall be held in the nature of a closed executive session that shall not be open to the public. Any such request shall be presented to the Commission before the civil service hearing commences. The deliberations of the Commission, including interim rulings on evidentiary or procedural issues, may be held in private and shall not be subject to a request for being open to the public, the Borough Council or to the person sought to be suspended, removed or reduced in rank. The Commission's disposition of the disciplinary action shall constitute official action which shall occur at a public meeting held pursuant to 65 Pa.C.S.A. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings).
All parties concerned shall have an immediate right of appeal to the Court of Common Pleas, of Allegheny County, and the case shall be determined as the court deems proper. No order of suspension made by the Commission shall be for a longer period than one year. The appeal with the Court of Common Pleas shall be taken within 30 days from the date of entry by the Commission of its final order and shall be by petition. Upon the appeal being taken and docketed, the Court of Common Pleas shall fix a day for the hearing and shall proceed to hear the appeal on the original record and additional proof of testimony as the parties concerned may desire to offer in evidence. The decision of the court affirming or revising the decision of the Commission shall be final, and the officer shall be suspended, discharged, reduced in rank or reinstated in accordance of the order of the court.
If for reasons of economy or other reasons it shall be deemed necessary by the Borough to reduce the number of paid officers, the following procedure shall be followed:
The Borough shall first furlough the person or persons, including probationers, last appointed to the respective force. Such removal shall be accomplished by furloughing in numerical order commencing with the person last appointed until such reduction shall have been accomplished.
In the event that the Borough Council decides to increase the size of the Police Department officer personnel, the furloughed police officers shall be reinstated in order of their seniority in the Police Department. Employees so notified of reinstatement must accept reinstatement within 30 days of receipt of such notice, otherwise such employee shall be deemed to have waived any right to reinstatement.
These reductions in force provisions are not applicable to the Chief of Police.