Personnel board recommends officers get jobs back

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Jefferson County Personnel Board has recommended that five former Birmingham Police Officers be reinstated to the force.

In court documents filed Tuesday, hearing officer Jim Sturdivant recommended that officers David Doran, Barrett Dewitt, Kenneth Prevo, Thomas Cleveland and Heath Boackle be reinstated on the Birmingham Police force. It will be up to the city to decide whether or not to accept the recommendation.

The officers were fired on May 19, 2009 after video of a police chase came to light. Doran and Dewitt were found not guilty in January of using excessive force against Anthony Warren during the January 2008 chase.

In a hearing Monday, Police Chief A.C. Roper showed up after Sturdivant mentioned that it was odd no one from his agency showed up. However, Roper did not testify.

All five of the former officers testified on their behalf. The only person who represented the city was Lt. Dennis Shepard. Shepard did have some criticism of the officers' actions; however he said he could not recommend termination.

Sturdivant wrote in the hearing decision that the city failed to present any evidence in support of the officers' termination, and therefore, the decision to fire them should be "set aside." He said that the city did not present the squad car surveillance videos in the hearing, therefore, it could not be entered into evidence or used in support of the city's decision to terminate the officers.

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