Langley Police Officer Don Lauer was sworn in as acting police chief Monday evening at a city council meeting. On the force for about three years, he’s now in charge of two other officers.
Mayor Tim Callison chose Lauer to fill the top cop spot left vacant when he fired former chief, David Marks, two weeks ago.
Marks is alleged to have used excessive force when arresting a mentally ill man last year.
After reviewing three separate investigation reports about the Nov. 20 incident and listening to a barrage of criticism from citizens who claimed Marks berated and bullied them in the past, Callison relieved Marks of his duties and put him on paid administrative leave July 2.
Marks will remain on paid administrative leave, Callison told council members, until the due process required for terminating civil service employees is finalized.
Under the civil servant protection system, employees are given the right to appeal termination as a protection against politically motivated firings.
Callison said a law firm representing the city is in negotiations with Marks’ attorney.
If a resolution is not reached, the next step is a Loudermill hearing in which the city will have to explain why termination is necessary, Callison explained.
A Loudermill hearing determines whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the charges against the employee are true and support the proposed action.
It’s based on a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held certain public-sector employees are afforded “some kind of hearing” before being terminated and either oral or written notice of charges against them, an explanation of the employer’s evidence, and an opportunity to present their sides of the story.
“We’re trying to get this resolved as soon as possible,” Callison said. “I hope it’s over in a couple of days.”