The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

September 11, 2013

Sexual harassment complaint results in officer's suspension

(Continued)

WOODWARD, Okla. — She said the dispatcher and witness also told her the incident occurred while the dispatcher was on duty and speaking with another officer over the radio.

Perez said after talking with the dispatcher and co-worker, she submitted the complaint to City Manager Alan Riffel. He referred it to the police department for an internal investigation.

“A complaint was filed, it was investigated and it was handled,” said Riffel, adding the police chief recommended the two-day suspension and he (Riffel) agreed with the decision, saying, "We did implement an action we felt was appropriate at the time under the circumstances of the case."

Perez said she was disappointed with the punishment and concerned for the dispatcher.

"I did everything in my power as her supervisor to bring justice to her. It didn't happen," said Perez. "Wrong is wrong and his superiors gave him two days on the ground without pay for his action. That is not justice."

Perez said the incident created an uncomfortable working environment for the dispatcher. And even though she was reassigned to a shift when Ford was off duty, the dispatcher left the department in April, six weeks after the incident, said Perez.

The News contacted the former dispatcher, but she did not want to comment, except to say the incident with Ford was the main reason she resigned. She had worked for the city for five years.

Perez said she left the department at the beginning of August because of the way the sexual harassment case was handled and “to make a new life.” She had worked for the city for more than 15 years.

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