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Dixon v. City of New Richmond

, 334 F.3d 691 (7th Cir. 2003)

In the year of 1998 Dixon worked as a part time officer with NRPD and full time officer with Somerset Police Department. His part time work with NRPD was scheduled as an “as needed” basis. The Chief of police for NRPD at the time was Chief H. Levi. January of 2001 there was a complaint filed against Dixon alleging misconduct related to a Bureau of Transportation grant, violations of alcoholic beverages laws, theft of evidence, and falsification of time sheets. Dixon’s attorney, Waterman, contacted Chief Levi and requested that the Chief hold judgment until the matter was resolved with Somerset. The Chief agreed but advised Dixon will not be assigned any part time shift until the case was resolved.

February 2001 a hearing was conducted and the Somerset Police Review Board unanimously agreed that Dixon did in fact commit the acts that are being alleged minus the allegation of the violation of the alcohol beverage law. Somerset terminated Dixon. Dixon appealed the decision to St Croix County Circuit Court and availed himself of the fourth Amendment. Chief Levi retired in June 2001 and Chief Samelstad took his place. Chief Levi informed Chief Samelstad about Dixon’s situation and the agreement to hold off on disciplinary action until the case was completed. Chief Samelstad requested Dixon to return his credentials in October of 2001 in which Dixon did not comply. Dixon’s attorney sent a letter to Chief Samelstad stating Dixon still considered himself as a part time officer at NRPD and is willing to work.

On February 2002 Chief Samelstad advised Dixon an internal investigation would be initiated due to his dismissal with Somerset. The Chief also gave Dixon the opportunity to come in and speak with him and give his side of the story but Dixon failed to show. On February 22 Dixon filed a lawsuit making allegations that NRPD denied him due process. On April 2002 formal disciplinary action began on Dixon. A hearing with New Richmond Police and Fire Commission (NRPFC) was scheduled and Dixon responded by sending a letter stating he was improperly discharged by NRPD and failed to attend the hearing.  On May 23, 2002 NRPFC terminated Dixon from NRPD. Both parties moved for summary on August 2002. The district court determined that Dixon is provided with protected property interest in his job but that he was no deprived because he was not removed, suspended, or fired. Dixons motion was denied and NRPDs motion was granted. Appeal ensued.

If I were the judge in this case I would agree with how the courts ruled this. Dixon was not deprived of his due process. Dixon was also offered an opportunity to speak with the new Chief on his termination with Somerset and he refused to show. Dixon did not show to the hearings or anything that was scheduled through the courts. Dixon was not suspended, demoted, removed, or fired. He was eventually terminated due an internal investigate that occurred and him refusing to show to the hearings to present his case.

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