Embattled Hastings police officer agrees to resign next year

  • Updated: January 8, 2013 - 11:02 PM

A beleaguered Hastings cop accused of infractions ranging from the theft of a corkscrew to hitting a fleeing suspect with his squad car has agreed to resign a year from now and work a desk job until then.

The Hastings City Council approved the agreement Monday. It calls for Rene Doffing, 49, to retire on Jan. 12, 2014, and for him to be "placed in an administrative office assignment for the remainder of his employment."

He will have 20 years of service by his retirement date, Police Chief Paul Schnell said Tuesday.

When Doffing leaves, he will receive 100 percent of his accrued sick leave, which stands at 492 hours and is valued at $16,236. Without the agreement, he would have been entitled to half of his accrued leave.

He also agreed to waive his right to file a grievance or pursue any other actions against the city in connection with his reassignment and resignation.

Doffing was accused of stealing a corkscrew from a Green Mill restaurant in Hastings in November 2010 but was acquitted of two counts of theft.

An internal investigation, however, concluded that Doffing's actions "resulted in significant discomfort and embarrassment for a number of fellow employees," according to a disciplinary letter to Doffing this past Dec. 14. Schnell imposed an 11 1/2-day unpaid suspension.

The disciplinary letter detailed a school bus stop-arm violation by Doffing on Dec. 8, 2011, and imposed a four-day unpaid suspension for that. It also talked about a Nov. 14, 2011, letter of reprimand Doffing received for falling asleep on duty; a 30-day suspension for using his squad car to hit a fleeing person in March 2007, and six other incidents dating to 1994. He was fired after the 2007 incident, but later reinstated by an arbitrator with a 30-day suspension.

"The conduct displayed in these incidents represents a general lack of regard for your role as a police officer serving this city," the Dec. 14 letter said.

"In almost all of the cases ... the disciplinary interventions were responses to an unwillingness or inability on your part to use measured judgment."

Doffing did not return a phone message on Tuesday.

PAT PHEIFER

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