The president of the Bethel Park Police Association union today sued the municipality and its police chief, alleging that he's been disciplined for his vigorous pursuit of officer safety issues.
Kenneth Radinick, 43, of Bethel Park, has been an officer there since 2002 and the union's president since 2008.
In 2011, according to the complaint by attorney Sam Cordes, he complained about problems with police radios.
Later that year, he protested the lack of back-up on a call involving a man with a gun, according to the complaint, and was suspended for five days without pay. The Bethel Park Civil Service Commission reduced the discipline to a written reprimand, according to the complaint.
He claims that he was then subjected to repeated discipline, including reprimands for not wearing a hat during a foot patrol in South Hills Village Mall and for using two lockers instead of one. He was compelled to switch to a patrol car that does not fit his six-foot-five-inch frame, according to the complaint.
"He's complaining about safety issues, and procedures that affect the safety of police officers and put the lives of officers at risk," said Mr. Cordes in a phone interview. "The reason we have this notion of First Amendment, and whistleblower protection, is because we want government to be informed of problems and to make changes."
The complaint said that Officer Radinick's free speech and association rights have been violated, and demanded an end to "retaliation," plus payment for wage losses, psychological harm and punitive damages.
Police Chief John Mackey, who is a named defendant, could not be reached for comment, and the municipality's administration referred questions to him.
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord