City OKs paying $200,000 for off-duty officer's actions

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The city of Pittsburgh is paying $200,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from a police sergeant's actions while working a side job.

The federal lawsuit was filed by Deven W. Werling of Largo, Fla., who said he was roughed up by Sgt. Mark A. Eggleton at the Original Hot Dog Shop in Oakland in 2004. The city's Office of Municipal Investigations found that Sgt. Eggleton contradicted himself under oath, and he was fired.

In October, the dismissal was reduced to a five-day suspension by then-Operations Director Dennis Regan. Mr. Eggleton continues to work as a sergeant.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he wasn't familiar with details of the case, and that the Law Department handled the negotiations. Mr. Werling was represented by Timothy P. O'Brien.

Council received a resolution to approve the settlement yesterday, and could vote next week.

The Eggleton case highlights what the city considers to be problems with the way security assignments are handed out.

In November, Mr. Ravenstahl shelved a plan to charge businesses $4 or $5 an hour, on top of the $38 an hour they pay the officers, for the scheduling of side jobs. The fee was supposed to cover costs including those stemming from lawsuits like the one involving Sgt. Eggleton.

Last week, Police Chief Nate Harper said his bureau is still trying to get control of the assignment of side jobs, two years after it started to wrest that duty from entrepreneurial officers who have long handled that role. He said the city hopes it will be scheduling all such assignments by April 9.

Yesterday, the mayor said he saw "no reason why we can't meet that timetable," but would not say exactly what would be achieved by then.


Rich Lord can be reached at rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542.


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