Hobart board drops insubordination charges against officer
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent December 5, 2012 8:36PM
Updated: January 7, 2013 7:17AM
HOBART — Patrolman Kirk Homoky should be back to duty Friday morning after insubordination charges leveled against him by Police Chief Jeff White were dismissed by the Board of Public Works and Safety on Wednesday.
Dan Whitten, attorney for White, made the motion to dismiss the charges, citing “judicial economy.”
This means Homoky will return to work and his hearing before the board that was scheduled for Dec. 13 was canceled, but it doesn’t mean Homoky’s troubles with the department are over.
“The internal investigation concerning Officer Homoky is nearing completion and I want to commit all our resources and time to that instead of the current charges before the board,” Whitten said.
Whitten said the result of the internal investigation will determine whether new or additional charges involving Homoky will be brought before the Board of Public Works.
White told the board last month he wanted to terminate Homoky’s employment based on two instances of insurbordination stemming from Homoky’s reported refusal to cooperate in an internal investigation involving him. According to Homoky’s attorney, Christopher Cooper, Homoky did not refuse to take a lie detector test, but he refused to sign a statement indicating he did so voluntarily.
Neither Whitten nor Cooper would go into details of the cause for the investigation.
Homoky has been on paid administrative leave since the last Board of Works meeting on Nov. 21.
City attorney Anthony DeBonis said White, as chief of police, has the power to assign Homoky to his duties. White said it has not yet been determined if Homoky will be assigned a desk job or return to active duty.
“Today is a victory for the Hobart Fraternal Order of Police, a victory for my client and a victory for all police officers in Indiana,” Cooper said when hearing of the motion to dismiss.
Cooper had been hired by the FOP to represent Homoky.
Cooper believes it was his barrage of requests to the city that led to the dismissal, a contention that Whitten denies.
Homoky’s attorney called for the city to change its original hearing date of Jan. 23, saying the law requires an administrative hearing for police officers threatened with termination to be held within 30 days of receiving the notice. Cooper also wanted two to three days set aside for the hearing, saying he would call about 14 witnesses to the stand, and had asked that DeBonis recuse himself as the hearing officer, which he said would have been a conflict of interest.
“Officer Homoky used his rights as an FOP member to retain my services and challenge the city of Hobart on its lack of respect and deference to Indiana law,” Cooper said.
Cooper said he will continue to represent Homoky during the internal investigation.