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Terminated city police corporal reinstated, but as patrolman

A veteran city police officer who was terminated by City Council earlier this year will start working again today, city police and city adminstration said Sunday.

Eric Housknecht, a former city police corporal, will return as a patrolman. The decision is a result of a settlement reached Thursday, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said.

Houseknecht was suspended with pay in late August 2017 for alleged instances of insubordination and misconduct.

Campana confirmed he was paid about $78,000 before City Council voted July 19 to fire him, citing 27 specific incidents.

“My chief recommended a 30-day suspension without pay and a demotion to patrol officer,” Campana said.

Campana said the reinstatement will help the proposed $27.2 million budget.

“It was likely he would be back as the new year began,” Campana said.

Councilman Don Noviello, who is running for the Republican nomination for mayor, said after looking at 27 policy violations of insubordination and misconduct, a suspension would be a woefully inadequate response.

“More officers on the street patrol and protecting and serving the better for the city residents,” Campana said. “My chief said he could work with 48 officers,” Campana said.

Police Chief Young is set to retire from law enforcement on Jan. 12. Police Capt. Jody Miller then assumes the top spot in the department, Campana said.

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