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Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Celina police chief placed on paid leave

Second officer also on leave for alleged unusual behavior

By William Kincaid
CELINA - The chief of police has been put on administrative leave due to allegations of misconduct and another police officer has been put on leave due to allegations of unusual behavior.
The two cases are not related, safety service director Tom Hitchcock said this morning.
Hitchcock last week put 22-year chief Dave Slusser on paid leave pending an investigation into potential job-related misconduct. Hitchcock would not comment on the nature of the investigation and did not know how long it would take.
Assistant police chief Calvin Freeman Jr. is carrying out Slusser's duties, he said.
Slusser on Feb. 14 was ordered to surrender his service weapon, badge, ID and all keys to the building, grounds and any department facilities.
"During this leave, you are not permitted in the police department office, on department grounds or in any other city of Celina facilities unless otherwise ordered to do so," Hitchcock wrote in a letter to Slusser. "You are ordered to not discuss the investigation, your alleged misconduct or anything related to the investigation with department employees or any other person, unless instructed to do so by investigation officials or myself."
Slusser also was told to refrain from accessing the police department computer system but must remain available to the department during normally-scheduled working hours or as otherwise instructed.
"You are required to comply with this investigation and all directives contained in this letter," Hitchcock wrote. "If you fail to comply, you will be subject to termination of employment."
Slusser joined the department in 1978 and has served as police chief since 1991.
Calls to Slusser were not returned by press time today.
Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel also was not available for comment.
Patrolman Lee "Andy" Regedanz was placed on paid administrative leave in late January for unusual behavior at work. He faces a pre-disciplinary hearing before Hitchcock sometime next week.
"It has been determined that reasonable suspicion exists to require you to take a psychological evaluation in accordance with the Section 26.8 of the police labor agreement," Hitchcock wrote in a letter to Regedanz on Jan. 23. "In order to preserve the safety of residents, your co-workers and yourself, you were placed on administrative leave with pay pending the results of the psychological evaluation and outcome of the investigation."
Regedanz also was told he must remain available to the city during his regularly-scheduled work times, is not to discuss anything related to his leave and is not allowed to enter any city property unless authorized.
Failure to comply with Hitchcock's orders and the evaluation could result in termination.
Regedanz joined the force in 2001.
City law director George Moore said the safety service director has the authority to place department heads and city employees on administrative leave to investigate alleged offenses. He can impose disciplinary action or fire personnel if such actions are warranted by the investigation.
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