[u]Hearing ends for Bellevue officer fired over fitness[/u]
Several Bellevue police officers testified Friday that even though they had not met some of the Police Department’s fitness requirements, they were not disciplined under the same policy that cost Officer Chris Parent his job.
A two-day hearing to determine if Parent will get his job back concluded Friday. The five-member Bellevue Civil Service Commission has 10 days to decide whether to uphold the termination.
Parent, 51, was fired Nov. 28 after an internal investigation determined he had not maintained a “high level of physical, mental and emotional conditioning.”
Lt. Mark Elbert said Parent, whose 2005-issued Nebraska driver’s license lists him at 5-foot-9 and 300 pounds, was fired under the first paragraph of the policy that requires officers to be physically fit and describes the physical demands expected of a police officer.
In the appeal, Parent’s attorneys argue that his termination violated the law because it was not made in good faith, was “arbitrary and capricious” and was made for political or religious reasons.
Officers are required to maintain at least a “fair” level of fitness based on standards in the department’s wellness manual that award points for various physical activities.
During the appeal hearing, Parent’s lawyers referred to a fitness log that showed Parent’s point total was above the minimum number.
All but one of the officers who testified Friday said they had not accumulated enough points to reach the criteria for “fair.”
Michael Polk, an attorney representing the city, said introducing the wellness points amounted to bringing in a technicality.
Parent’s firing, Polk said, stems from his poor performance during an Aug. 28 combat shooting exercise, which prompted the officers to report him to the command staff.
Polk also read from a doctor’s assessment that said if Parent remained a police officer he would put the public, other officers and himself at risk.