|Fred Lahovski, giving thumbs up.|
That arrogance continues today. Though he's been reinstated, the borough has still refused to pay the back-pay awarded. His problem? He's "outwardly ambitious and opinionated." His work ethic reveals the pattern of someone who refuses to go along to get along. Just as he stood up for the boy being threatened by a speeding drunk driver, he has stood up for a Puerto Rican Nazareth police officer, a woman no less, when she was called a "wetback" and told to refrain from advertising her national origin. He stood up for an openly gay officer subjected to homophobic slurs and who was ultimately taken off the work schedule. He defended another Hispanic officer who was forced to undergo all kinds of background checks not required of others. And he championed another female officer whom another officer refused to certify at the firing range, under orders from Chief Thomas Trachta.
Instead of keeping his head down, Lahovski filed grievances, something he had the right to do as a member of the police association.
"Your grievance is a false claim and should be viewed as harassment," claimed the then Mayor once in response to a grievance. It was ultimately upheld. In fact, Lahovski won nearly all of them.
He continued standing up for what's right, even after he was demoted from his position as Detective in what appears to be a retaliatory move. He continued to drive on even when borough officials refused to schedule a sergeant's exam because they knew he'd ace it.
Lahovski may have been too motivated. As a result of investigation of drug activity in some Nazareth nuisance bars, Lahovski learned that a Nazareth officer might be involved in drug deals himself. He had information from a confidential informant he considered reliable, but Chief Trachta did not want to hear it, calling it "loose street information". Another officer heard similar allegations, but refused to note it in his report. Lahovski obtained a taped statement from the informant, who stated that she actually observed this officer dealing drugs. He even had her call the Chief herself. Lahovski prepared a full report, but Trachta refused it, and disciplined Lahovski when he tossed it.
That discipline was overturned.
In 2011, Nazareth arbitrarily decided to stop paying shift differentials, in violation of a collective bargaining agreement. Lahovski filed a grievance, which the then Mayor called "frivolous". Lahovski sought arbitration, and eventually won. The borough retaliated by letting the people of Nazareth suffer. It refused for a period to schedule police coverage.
Lahovski was also cited for reporting to work out of uniform. That was overturned, too. Trachta warned him he is going to get hurt if he does not stop filing grievances.
The complaint details instances of what clearly appears to be misconduct by borough council. Council members interfered in several police investigations, usually involving the arrests of friends, and threatened Lahovksi and others for enforcing the law equally. "Lahovski won't have his job for long," one Council member is reported to have said after a friend was cited.
When Borough Council finally decided to fire him, they publicly disseminated false information to stigmatize him. They even accused him of stealing his own vacuum cleaner. According to the complaint, it was a "sham proceeding with a predetermined outcome."
Mayor Carl Strye defamed Lahovski, claiming that negotiating with him was akin to a "fireman negotiating with an arsonist."
I attempted to contact Officer Lahovski, but he declined comment, stating that he'll save it for court. But I did see him skateboarding with kids at the park, instead of making them feel like animals.
You can read the complaint here.
This is Lahovski's side of the story. I imagine there are several others. But if 10% of that complaint is true, Nazareth residents should be very concerned.