This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of:
Filed April 11, 2006
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Hudson, Judge.
D E C I S I O N
reviewing an employment termination decision by a civil service commission must
determine, based on the evidence, whether “the order of the commission [was]
claims that the commission’s amended findings are insufficient and fail to
address the issues that this court directed the commission to address on remand. Two charges concern relator’s use or transfer
of property to which IFPD had access in an evidence storage room at the
As to the first charge, removal of a TV/DVD unit from the evidence storage room, the commission made 20 separate findings supporting its decision that relator’s taking of the TV/DVD constituted misconduct. These findings show that (1) relator took a TV/DVD unit from the evidence room; (2) the TV/DVD was in a factory-sealed box; (3) a standard-sized piece of paper in plain view on the box indicated that the item was evidence in a pending case; (4) relator admitted to having the TV/DVD at his residence for several months for surveillance purposes; and (5) relator only returned the TV/DVD after issuance of a search warrant.
argues that the commission was “evasive” in failing to address the directive of
this court regarding whether relator “knowingly” engaged in misconduct. The evidence and findings, however, show that
relator knew his conduct was wrong.
Relator did not follow proper procedures or seek approval to remove the
TV/DVD, and he failed to return the property even when asked to do so. This evidence, while circumstantial, supports
finding that relator committed a knowing violation of IFPD policy.
With respect to the second charge, transfer of a scanner to the Koochiching County Attorney, the commission found that (1) relator removed a scanner from the evidence room; (2) the scanner was in a box marked with evidence tape and the initials of a sheriff’s deputy for Koochiching County; (3) relator removed the scanner without checking with that deputy; (4) the scanner was the subject of an incomplete forfeiture proceeding; and (5) relator lent the scanner to the county attorney.
Relator contends that the commission’s findings ignore this court’s directive to distinguish between the charge against relator, which was that he violated a rule of criminal procedure, and its earlier findings, which state that he violated a rule of evidence. The original complaint charges relator with “[r]emoval of evidence (hand-held scanner) from temporary evidence/property room.” The alleged violation, however, states that the IFPD policy manual prohibits police officers from “knowingly disobey[ing] the law or rules of criminal procedure in such areas as . . . preservation of evidence.” The commission’s findings set forth the charge, make specific findings on the evidence that sustains the charge, and make credibility determinations that are favorable to its ultimate determination. While we remain troubled by the lack of clarity in the charges, we conclude that the charges were sufficient to put appellant on notice of the conduct and the IFPD violations that formed the basis for his dismissal.
Relator claims that the remaining charge, that he made false statements to the police chief about the occasion of his missing a scheduled emergency drill at a local community college, is not supported by the evidence. Relator admits that he did not attend the drill, but denies making any false statements to the police chief about why he missed the drill. The commission found relator’s testimony “not credible,” and further found that relator (1) skipped the drill because he was angry with county deputies; (2) stated that he had not been with the county attorney during the drill; (3) lied to a fellow officer about his whereabouts during the drill; and (4) insinuated that the police chief was untruthful in recounting their conversation after the missed drill. Because credibility determinations are for the commission and the testimony of the police chief and other officers support the charge, the commission’s conclusion on this charge is sustained.
Relator further contends that the commission ignored this court’s directive to make amended findings that reflect the commission’s decision-making process for purposes of ensuring adequate review. By making the credibility determinations that it did, the commission addressed some of this court’s concerns. The commission also found that relator’s act of missing the emergency drill to spend time with the county attorney “reflects both poor judgment and insubordination,” that relator showed no remorse for his conduct, and that relator’s conduct reflected poorly on the whole department. These findings adequately support relator’s termination.
also claims that the commission failed to follow the directive of this court
because it allowed