Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Caton To Be Promoted To Sergeant

The Enquirer reports that Cincinnati Police Officer Patrick Caton and two others are to be promoted to the rank of sergeant tomorrow. Caton was one of two officers (the other was Blaine Jorg) involved in the in-custody death of Roger Owensby, Jr.

Following Owensby's death, Officer Caton was arrested, criminally charged, and fired from the force. He was acquitted of assault, and an arbitrator subsequently found (in a decision upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court) that dismissal was too harsh, and reduced the penalty to a five-day suspension.

Caton received $200,000 in back pay from the City. The family of Roger Owensby received $6.5 million from the City in settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit.

As the Enquirer notes, sergeants are named based on the placement on a "promotion-eligible" list, which is created solely as a function of an officer's score on a written test (as mandated by the collective bargaining agreement that governs his employment), not any exercise of discretion on the part of CPD supervisors. Here is what appears to be the current promotion-eligible list. As long as a list is "active"--which this one is until July 2008--each time a sergeant position becomes vacant, the highest non-promoted candidate gets the job. For instance, see this press release from October announcing the promotion of the 17th, 19th, and 20th candidates on the list.

This will almost certainly bring up bad memories and angry feelings for some in Cincinnati.

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