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Arbiter Sides With Officer Over City

KIT

An arbitrator ruled in favor of a Yakima police officer, who had been suspended for 30 days, and reduced the suspension to just one day.

The Yakima Herald reports that Gary Garza had been suspended after it was discovered that he made several errors when writing search warrants for a narcotics investigation. The interim police chief at the time, Greg Copeland, had recommended termination. But then city manager Don Cooper opted for suspension.

Turmoil within the department and lesser punishments for other officers’ transgressions were among the reasons cited by the Portland-based arbiter as to why the suspension was reduced.

Current city manager Tony O’Rourke told the Herald that he will meet with Chief Dominic Rizzi Jr. before deciding if the city will appeal the reduced suspension. Rizzi is currently on vacation.

The union doesn’t believe that the city will appeal the decision as there would have to be some proof of illegality on the part of the arbiter.

The arbiter did call Garza’s actions negligent, but also that it was an “isolated incident.”

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