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Walsh v. Board of Fire & Police Comm'rs

OPINION FILED APRIL 22, 1983.

RAYMOND M. WALSH, APPELLEE,

v.

THE BOARD OF FIRE AND POLICE COMMISSIONERS OF THE VILLAGE OF ORLAND PARK ET AL., APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Arthur L. Dunne, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE SIMON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied May 27, 1983.

The chief of the police department of the village of Orland Park charged Raymond Walsh, a sergeant in the department, with violating several departmental regulations in connection with a shooting incident which occurred in his home. In an administrative proceeding the board of fire and police commissioners of the village (board) found him guilty of the charges and ordered that he be discharged from the department. The only issue on this appeal is whether a sanction less than discharge is appropriate in this case because at the time of the incident Sergeant Walsh was on medical suspension for treatment of a psychiatric problem.

The specific charges were:

(1) excessive use of intoxicants;

(2) reckless conduct and aggravated assault;

(3) conduct unbecoming a police officer;

(4) unlawful use of a weapon;

(5) conduct tending to cast disrepute on the department;

(6) conduct contrary to the public peace or welfare; and

(7) drawing a firearm needlessly.

The board found Walsh guilty of all the charges except excessive use of intoxicants and ordered that he be discharged from the police force.

Sergeant Walsh filed an action in the circuit court of Cook County for review of the board's administrative decision. He alleged that the board had no jurisdiction over his case because he had tendered his resignation from the force. He also claimed that the board's finding of guilt was against the manifest weight of the evidence. The circuit court found that his attempt to resign was ineffective because he had not tendered his letter of resignation to the chief of police as required by departmental regulations. The circuit court also found that the board's decision was supported by the manifest weight of the evidence.

Sergeant Walsh appealed, and the appellate court agreed with the department's decision on both the issues of jurisdiction and guilt. (103 Ill. App.3d 635.) Nevertheless, the appellate court reversed the department's decision to discharge Sergeant Walsh and remanded the cause to the board for the consideration of an alternative sanction. The court held that the sanction of discharge was too severe in view of the fact that at the time of the incident Sergeant Walsh was on medical suspension for treatment ...


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