December 14, 2010

Absence from an assigned post

Absence from an assigned post
Gamma v City of Newburgh, 277 AD2d 236

Absence from one’s post is a serious matter as former Newburgh police officer Stephen J. Gamma learned.

Gamma was found guilty of charges that he violated both supervisory instructions and the Rules and Regulations of the Department by leaving his duty post without the approval of a superior in his chain of command. As a result, Gamma was terminated.

In response to Gamma’s appeal, the Appellate Division decided that there was substantial evidence in the record to support the hearing officer’s findings. As to the penalty imposed, termination, the court said that [t]the penalty of dismissal was not so disproportionate to the offense as to be shocking to one’s sense of fairness, citing Pell v Board of Education, 34 NY2d 222.

The court said that a police force is a quasi-military organization demanding strict discipline and in matters involving police misconduct, great deference is to be accorded to determinations regarding the appropriate discipline of its members.

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