It’s a common occurrence for police officers who are undergoing legal troubles to get fired in the process. But when it comes to Philadelphia Police officers who are acquitted of the charges against them, more often than not they’re rehired on the taxpayer’s dime.
“Most times a large majority of these officers are reinstated after the arbitration process,” said Fortunato Perri Jr., an attorney who represented fired and rehired Philadelphia Police Lieutenant Jonathan Josey.
City records obtained by NBC10 show that seven fired Philadelphia Police officers were rehired between 2010 and 2012. The records also show that the city paid $491,685.99 in back pay that came from taxpayer dollars.
“Often times we do find the cost being put on the taxpayers because the city is now in the position where they have to pay the officers back pay to put him or her back on the force,” Perri Jr. said. “If that officer has already been replaced on that detail, it’s obviously going to be an extra cost to the city.”
According to the Fraternal Order of Police, nine out of every ten Philadelphia Police officers who are fired end up getting their jobs back, a statistic which is problematic for commissioner Charles Ramsey.
“Many of the people they bring back are people who should be fired and should stay fired,” Ramsey said.
Perri Jr. believes however that the police administration is at times too quick to act when it comes to firings and unfair to some of the officers.
“They are unilaterally terminated and have to fight their way back on the job through the arbitration process,” Perri Jr. said. “It’s something that should be addressed and should be looked into.”
NBC10 requested information on how much the city is paying in arbitration costs and whether they’re covering legal fees for the officers. So far the city has not responded to our request.