THE RUBBER GUN SQUAD

POLICE During the day, JERRY KASTLER goes to movies or works out at the gym. Or he might go to the mall. And for this, the city of Dallas pays him a good salary: $28,000 a year.

For about a year. Kastler has been a member of the “rubber gun squad,” a handful of Dallas police officers who are either on administrative leave or working as clerks without badges, uniforms, or guns. Kastler was fired for use of unnecessary force, but says that during his appeal before the Civil Service Trial Board, testimony from the youth he was accused of roughing up corroborated Kastler’s version of events. Another officer was fired for addiction to prescription drugs and another for theft, though he was found not guilty during a criminal trial. Though the Civil Service Trial Board has ruled that the officers’ firings were unjustified and ordered them reinstated, Dallas Police Chief mack vines has refused to do so.

Sgt. jack means, president of the Dallas Police Patrolman’s Union, says that Chief Vines is violating the city charier by refusing to follow the trial board’s rulings. “He’s saying, ’By God, I run this department,’” Means says. The union has filed suit on behalf of Kastler and another officer to force the department to return them to their original jobs.

But Chief Vines points out that as head of the police department, he has personal as well as departmental liability for actions by patrol officers who may have difficulty performing their jobs. “We study each case,” Vines says, explaining why one officer may be reinstated and another put on administrative leave. A.C. GONZALEZ, assistant city manager, says that he is aware of the problems the police department has in developing a policy that protects the public while following the rules laid out in the city charter. “The overall concern should be the fitness of the officer,” Gonzalez says. “It should be in the best interest of the public.”

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