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Charles Town officers win back their jobs

January 23, 1998

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The local Civil Service Commission ruled Friday in favor of two Charles Town Police officers and ordered them reinstated at the police department.

Officer Ward Sigler and Officer Joe Forman had been suspended on administrative leave last September.

Police Chief Mike Aldridge had recommended the two be fired after he investigated whether the two told the truth at a grievance hearing about whether Sigler was present when the chief yelled at police secretary Valerie Weaver.

Aldridge said at the Civil Service Commission hearing on Wednesday that the two officers lied under oath that Sigler was one of several people present during the altercation.

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The two officers had requested the hearing to appeal their suspensions.

The police department has been short-handed since the two were placed on administrative leave with pay. The department also has two officers out with back injures.

The police department has 10 officers, including the two who were suspended.

Aldridge said Friday he plans to put the two officers back into the rotation.

Forman said Friday he felt vindicated by the ruling.

"I'm glad it turned out the way it did. It didn't surprise me because we told the the truth," Forman said.

Sigler could not be reached for comment.

Aldridge said he will meet with the town's attorney, Braun Hamstead, to discuss whether the department will appeal the Civil Service Commission's ruling.

The case revolved around whether Sigler was present on Aug. 21 when Aldridge yelled at Weaver.

There was no question that the chief and the secretary had a loud disagreement at the police department in front of several witnesses.

Witness accounts about when the incident occurred varied from 7:05 p.m. to 7:25 p.m.

Sigler did not arrive at the station until sometime between 7:20 p.m and 7:25 p.m. based on the radio log transcripts.

At an earlier grievance hearing, Sigler had testified he walked into the office during the disagreement and witnessed it.

Forman also said at the grievance hearing that he saw Sigler walk in.

Forman and Weaver testified at Wednesday's hearing they saw Sigler walk in while other police officers testified they did not believe Sigler was there.

Aldridge testified at the hearing that the issue was important because it involved the credibility of the officers.

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