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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Arbitrator: Fired Bethlehem Cop Deserves Job Back

Around this time last year, I was having apoplectic fits over the abuse being heaped upon a Bethlehem police officer who was fired in a Kangaroo Court orchestrated by Bethlehem City Council. Though they had all already decided to get rid of the guy, they conducted a sham hearing and attempted to force officers who obviously liked Richard Hoffman to testify against him. As I predicted at the time, Officer Richard Hoffman has been ordered re-instated following a hearing before a union arbitrator.

Hoffman was fired because of an off-duty drunk driving accident with no injuries. In fact, the accident happened partially because this officer mistakenly thought he saw a pedestrian, and swerved. Officers who were with him that night thought he was sober and would have stopped him from driving if he had too much to drink.

But he did. And though The Express Times goes to great lengths to muddy up this officer, it leaves out one very important detail. An explanation for why Hoffman might have been under the influence that night. A good one, too.

You see, this accident occurred right around the anniversary of August 11, 2011. That probably means nothing to you, but it meant a lot to Hoffman. You see, on that date, a Freemansburg police officer was lying in a pool of blood. Officer Robert lasso was responding to a domestic disturbance, and was greeted with a shotgun blast to his face.

The first officer on the scene to assist lasso? Richard Hoffman. He tried to save Lasso's life and repeatedly administered CPR. But he was too late. Lasso succumbed.

Obviously, this affected him. It would affect anyone.

Hoffman is, incidentally, a highly decorated officer. That's another thing that Bethlehem City Council failed to consider. That's another thing you won't read in The Express Times. They want to look tough.

The star witness against Hoffman was a bar bouncer who himself was under house arrest for a second offense DUI at the time of a supposed argument with the officer. Nobdy bothered to point that out. Instead, disgraced former Council member Karen Dolan, who now calls herself K. Dierdre Dolan, told the bouncer he is "quite heroic."

Frankly, it is people like Hoffman who are the heroes, not bouncers at some bar frequented by council members.

An injustice has thankfully been reversed. Much of the credit for this is due to Wade Haubert, who represents Bethlehem's police union. Should Hoffman have been disciplined? Of course. But the remedy was too harsh.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Doesn't history always repeat itself?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm not really sure what that means. If you are suggesting that one dui Means that there will necessarily be two, that is illogical.

Anonymous said...

Hey if we have a bad day at work it s Ok to get plastered and crash into cars and almost kill someone. It is just one of those days.

Also cops never cover for other cops.

Excuses, excuses.

Anonymous said...

There are "Federal Laws" that mandate you must try to help someone who is having a drinking problem and they do not specify in any detail as to what is a drinking problem. You can no longer just "fire" someone without getting them into a treatment program and attempting to help them. This is the right decision.

Anonymous said...

So a school bus driver gets a DUI and the bus company must send him or her to counseling and be permitted to continue drivinn?

Anonymous said...

Well, now we'll see what the kid is really made of. If he is sincere and has good motives,meh should have spent this time off getting control of his obvious drinking problem. If he has, good for him, if not, he will screw up again.

Anonymous said...

Schlener's coming back!

Anonymous said...

I predict that the Bethlehem Township cop who was just recently fired per your blog will be returned to duty by an arbitrator, too.

Anonymous said...

no excuse for driving drunk. he could've killed an innocent person. i've lost friends too.

Anonymous said...

frigging union bull shit

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Bernie, you seem to have missed a few incidents on this guys record. The Morning Call goes into a much more detail about this officers past transgressions. I am willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt and believe in rehabilitation for druggies and alcoholics, but this guy already had a few opportunities to straighten out. You didn't give us all the details. Read the Morning Call.

Anonymous said...

His termination was not opposed by him at the hearing before City Council. And the Police Chief and Mayor supported and requested his termination.
I bet the City appeals the decision.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you are WAAAAAAAY off base here. Give him Kudos for what he did for Officer Lasso and for his awards he has earned, not taking that from him. BUT you have other troubling facts....the DUI crash and let's not forget the Philly incident (or are they making that up?). He deserves mental health support but never a job as a police officer again. Good thing is this....history usually repeats itself. He will be in trouble again and hopefully they can seal the lid on this for good.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It went unopposed bc opposition would have been futile. He'd rather take his chances with someone who would actually listen.

I sat thru the hearings and watched the witnesses. The people who were way off base here were the top cops pushing for this termination (not the Chief or the Mayor but some captain or whatever they call him with a hot nut). It was very clear to me that one bar owner in particular was listened to while poolice officers were ignored.

it was a low point.

As for those of you arguing that this was the right thing, not one of you has the courage to say who you are so you are in no position to to say anything about morality.

Anonymous said...

Plain & simple, this dude has mental issues and should not be protected by a badge.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie, you seem to have missed a few incidents on this guys record. The Morning Call goes into a much more detail about this officers past transgressions"

I am well aware that both papers have detailed accounts of every time this cop farted in public. But they have nothing about his numerous commendations or effect of seeing a fellow officer die right in front of you.

For it's Hoffman this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I predict that the Bethlehem Township cop who was just recently fired per your blog will be returned to duty by an arbitrator, too."

My sense is that cops get screwed over pretty easily by municipal officials. Although arbitration results are sometimes nutty, it's more fair than being subjected to the whims of a municipal official trying to look like he's tough. And as most of the anonymous comments here reveal, there is little sympathy ever for a police officer accused of wrongdoing.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"So a school bus driver gets a DUI and the bus company must send him or her to counseling and be permitted to continue drivinn?"

If it is off duty and no one is hurt and there are mitigating circumstances like occurred here, yes.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" If he is sincere and has good motives,meh should have spent this time off getting control of his obvious drinking problem."

Agreed. That's assuming the City takes him back and does not pay him to go away.

Anonymous said...

I work with this kid, and he got drunk off his ass last night celebrating the arbitrators decision and got mouthy and aggressive with some of the other cops when they suggested he not drive.

He will self-destruct in a few months. Booze is tough,if you really want to quit, it takes a lot of work. He is apparently not there yet.

Anonymous said...

Give the kid a random drug test and this problem will be solved, it's not just booze, and he's not the only one. Have someone from outside the department audit the evidence room. I'm surprised this kind of thing isn't happening every day, bunch of meth heads with guns.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Alrighty then.

Anonymous said...

This cop knows no other way. It is not the DUI that makes him a bad cop. It is the expectation that he is to be treated differently from the guy that picks up his garbage that makes him a bad cop. Ask any US Attorney, former or current, where police corruption begins, and the answer will be," With that free cup of coffee, police corruption begins".
Policing a free society is a difficult job, no doubt. But when cops are not the slightest bit embarrassed by the racket they enjoy, and then have the audacity to demand more?, and treat everyone else with indifference?, it is time to take a fresh look at the subject.

Anonymous said...

I have mixed emotions here. Hoffman wasn't given a fair shake in his hearing, that's for sure. City council had it out for him. On the other hand it appears ( I don't have 1st hand knowledge so I'm not going to accuse) he hassome demons he is fighting. he might be a great cop but his reported past behavior isn't something that I expect to read about police officer. My thought is this if his past actions would have him fail out of the application process to be a cop (psych evaluation, criminal history etc) he should be terminated if they wouldn't eliminate him he should be allowed back to work. Either way I hope he is able to work out any
problems that he has.

Hank_Hill

Anonymous said...

Saturdays paper states exactly what I told you would happen....he must be reinstated. Alcoholism is not a reason for termination of employment. You must go through a process and that process includes treatment.

Anonymous said...

9:31 am
bernie, this man and his deffenders represent the thugonomics of the conomics andin local polotics and the antics of a fine dish of blue shitsoup served up as public servants¿

redd
patent pending