Reinstated Decatur officers still face a POST council review

Although the two Decatur police officers who lost their jobs over an incident involving $7 were reinstated Tuesday, they still face review from the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.

Lt. Eric Jackson and Officer Joshua L. Speed had resigned and been fired respectively after they found money in a police cruiser last month and divvied it up instead of immediately turning it in.

Termination of both was signed off by Deputy Chief Scott Richards and Chief Mike Booker, and also recommended after review by an independent hearing officer. But on Tuesday City Manager Peggy Merriss overturned the recommendations, though she delivered penalties including a one-year probation, demotion and reduction in pay for both.

“Because their status was changed, because disciplinary action was taken, we will review the action,” POST Executive Director Ken Vance said. “I have no idea what will happen, but I will say with [Jackson and Speed’s reinstatement], that does weigh in their favor.”

Both will likely face the POST Council in March. Vance reiterated the council could take no action, or put the officers’ certifications on probation, suspend their certifications or revoke them.

Vance added that of all cases reported to POST, about two-thirds are criminal, where “somebody’s charged with something,” like a DUI, and typically the ensuing decisions are clear-cut. The other third he said are department violations, like this one, and are more complex, taking longer to resolve.