Policy prevents officers from being fired amid sex misconduct - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Policy prevents officers from being fired amid sex misconduct

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BILLINGS- Questions are being raised about why three Billings Police Department officers haven't been fired, after it was revealed the officers had sex during duty and on city property. 

Two of officers were on patrol at the time of the incidents. Another was off duty. 

"You can't just say 'I am mad at you, you're fired,' like you see on TV. That cannot happen," said Chief Rich St. John. 

St. John can't release some details about what happened, due to the officers claiming they have a right to privacy, after they admitted to having sex in in city hall and in a police cruiser. The officers are suing to keep their names private.

St. John says when it comes to public backlash about his decision, many should know it comes down to policy. 

"First of all we have a union shop and we have (a) union contract set that specifies how discipline is meted out," explains St. John. 

He says the same is true for many agencies around the state. 

"That is a question I get a lot. I don't believe that if I had moved to termination that it would withstand an arbitration, based on our policies, procedures and guidelines."

The Billings Police Department operates on a policy guideline handbook based on the act--and a letter grade system to align with the discipline. 

A union contract precludes administration from deviating from those rules. 

The question is whether that will change after so much public backlash.

"We are making sure we are doing things right going forward," said St. John. 

In the past twelve years, under his leadership, Chief St. John says there were no employment lawsuits. He says that's because the rules are followed, they are consistent and transparent. 

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