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Paid Leave
Cases Involving Police Officers Are Lengthy And Expensive
July 26, 2013

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Charleston Police Department Sgt. Christopher Thompson was placed on paid administrative leave in late August of last year.

Since then, the 18-year veteran of the force has been receiving his $40,000 annual salary and still retains his medical benefits and insurance.

Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster declined an on-camera interview, and said Thompson's case is a personnel matter.

But, the chief said investigations of alleged officer misconduct are often lengthy and complicated. He said the interests of the officers must be balanced against the interest of the public and the agency.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones admitted that anytime an officer is the subject of an investigation, it is an expensive proposition.

"It's very difficult," Jones said. "I can understand how the public would look and think why should it take so long and sometimes I ask those questions myself. But we do the best we can under the law as we have to deal with it."

Jones said Thompson's nearly year-long paid leave is not the most lengthy in recent Charleston history.

"When I became mayor, there was a case that lasted I think five years, and the policeman had been paid for five years," Jones said.

With Sergeant Thompson's paid administrative league continuing, the price tag, including the investigation, is more than $50,000.

And the meter is still running.

Webster said he is reviewing the findings of the Thompson investigation and is preparing to make a recommendation to the Conduct Review Board. However, a date for that recommendation has not been set.




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