Wilks appeals dismissal
Post Independent Staff
Former New Castle police sergeant Edward Wilks claims there were irregularities in the manner that town officials fired him and he wants his job back. An appeal hearing in front of town officials will be held Friday.
Wilks said he was fired Dec. 12 for his role in the shooting of a black Labrador named Jenny on Oct. 15. According to the police report on the incident, Jenny, owned by New Castle resident Tammy Klein, was running loose in New Castle, and New Castle police picked her up.
After the dog became aggressive as the officer attempted to get control of her, she was let out of the patrol car, shot several times and killed, the police report said.
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The Klein family claims the dog was nice to people and never displayed vicious behavior.
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The police report on the incident said the Kleins had been warned several times about the dog running loose and a warrant had even been issued for Tammy Klein’s arrest “for failing to comply and appear on an older summons involving her dog.”
Wilks did not shoot the dog, nor was he at the scene when it was shot. But he was the supervisor of the officer who did the shooting and he gave the order to shoot while talking to the officer on a cell phone, Wilks said.
Wilks, who was a New Castle police officer for four years, insists he broke no rules in the shooting of the dog and that New Castle police chief Chris Sadler terminated him because of public outcry, ignoring the town’s normal employment protocol.
“I did not do the things they accuse me of,” Wilks said. “They took so much heat from this that, rather than defend themselves, they used me as a scapegoat.”
Wilks also said the town offered him a $2,000 severance agreement, along with a promise that the termination would not go in his personnel folder, if he would agree to quietly resign.
Wilks says he declined the deal.
“If I’m guilty of any of that, it should go in my folder,” he said.
New Castle town manager Steve Rippy said Tuesday it would be inappropriate for him or Sadler to comment on Wilks’ termination because of the pending appeal. He did, however, say New Castle’s side of the story will be shared during Friday’s appeal hearing.
Wilks is appealing his termination so he can get his job back, saying if the termination stands, “My law enforcement career is over.”
“After this happened, nobody will touch me,” he added.
Wilks insists that during his tenure as a New Castle police officer, he never received a reprimand, suspension or any other type of disciplinary action. Rather, he says his personnel folder was filled with commendations.
“They’re petrified that my personnel folder will get out to the public because it’s (an inch) thick with commendations,” Wilks said.
Wilks also claims he tried everything to avoid having the officer shoot the dog, but in the end he had no choice.
“If I did commit any violation,” he asked, “why was I not treated like any other New Castle employee?”
The appeal hearing, which is open to the public, will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at New Castle Town Hall.
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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