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Suspended Mitchell Officer Steve Blair Back On Patrol Today

Last updated on Monday, April 23, 2012

(MITCHELL) - Former Mitchell Police Chief Steven Blair, who was suspended almost two years ago, is officially back with the police department.

Blair was terminated by the city's board of works in April 2010, but judges concluded the board of works did not have the authority to hear the case because the merit board was in existence at the time. The matter went to court, and Blair was reinstated to the force, pending the completion of fitness and training requirements. He has completed all the requirements and is scheduled to work today on second shift.

"It is unclear on if he will come back as assistant chief or with rank," said Mitchell Police Chief Mike Hardman. "That is still unclear and being discussed."

Blair was reinstated to the force after the Mitchell Merit Board dropped all charges against Blair by former Chief Jerry Presnell in January.

The merit board reviewed the charges during an executive meeting on December 21.

Presnell had charged that Blair had shown a disregard and lack of respect for the police department's rules and regulations, city officials, supervisors and the public.

He alleged Blair didn't wear his seatbelt while on duty, violated workplace conduct rules by recording a conversation with Merit board member Terry Bock, ordered a dispatcher to leave information off the department's radio log, included questionable overtime on his time card and recorded a conversation with Mayor Dan Terrell which was later used in a lawsuit against the city.

Merit Board President Phil Tincher was concerned because Presnell waited a year and 11 months before filing the charges against Blair. Tincher believed Presnell had a personal vendetta against Blair.

Ticher did say Blair used bad judgment in the choices he made and the board ordered a letter of reprimand be put in the Blair's personnel file.

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