POLICE : Fired Officer Reinstated, but Demoted


Overruling Alhambra Police Chief Russ Siverling, a city commission has voted to reinstate Steve Perry, a school board member who was fired from his job as a police officer in August.

Voting 5 to 0 in closed session, the Alhambra Civil Service Commission overturned the firing of Perry but ruled that he should be demoted and suspended for 30 days for reasons that both Perry and city officials have refused to disclose.

Perry, 32, has been an Alhambra police officer for 12 years and a school board member since 1988. He was fired from the Police Department on Aug. 8.

Perry's dismissal came one week after state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control investigators had complained that an Alhambra police officer tipped off managers of a local restaurant to a state probe. The business was under investigation for allegedly selling alcohol to minors.

Civil service Commissioner Thomas Simmons said Perry was charged with compromising another police agency's investigation in connection with the ABC probe.

But Simmons said Perry's otherwise good record as a police officer saved him from being fired. "If it wasn't for his record, I would have seen to it that he was kicked out of there," Simmons said.

Perry has refused to comment about the case. Siverling, who along with several other police officials testified at closed hearings on Oct. 27 and 28, also declined to discuss his testimony or his reason for firing Perry.

The hearings were closed to the public at Perry's request.

The demotion could mean a cut in pay of as much as $8,400 a year.

According to Simmons, Perry admitted he had warned a bartender at a local bar that state investigators were in town but claimed he never specifically stated that the business was under investigation. Perry's story was corroborated at the hearing by his partner that night, Simmons said.

Ken Kelly, district administrator for the ABC in El Monte, said the three investigators from his office who were involved in the Alhambra investigation in late July were subpoenaed to testify at Perry's hearing but were never called. The City Council also met in closed session Monday to review Perry's hearing. The council could have appealed the commission's ruling but took no action, said Mayor Boyd Condie. Condie said he believes no appeal will be filed.

"Hopefully, it's over and we can go on from here," Condie said.

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