Public Safety Managing Director Thomas Seamon disputed allegations yesterday that University Police Chief George Clisby and other public safety officials prevented officers from testifying in court cases. He said the allegations were based on a miscommunication between the Fraternal Order of Police and management. And in order to get a better handle on the situation, Seamon has agreed to meet with FOP officials. Former University Police officer Mary Terry, who was recently fired from the force, testified Wednesday in Philadelphia Municipal Court that she was told by her supervisors to not continue with the prosecution of College sophomore Scott Schuman, according to Assistant District Attorney Clarence Dupree. Schuman was accused of assaulting Terry last April during Spring Fling. He was acquitted in the case. Officer Peggy O'Malley, chief shop steward of the University's FOP, said Wednesday night that the union has a class-action grievance currently pending against the police department for interfering with officers' abilities to appear in court. She said last night that she has agreed to meet with Seamon "to address the situation and to share a little history on the subject with him." Seamon said the management of the police force has a right to ask the district attorney's office to subpoena only those officers whose testimony is absolutely necessary. But he added that it is up to the discretion of the district attorney's office to decide who to subpoena. One police officer, who wished to remain nameless, said Wednesday that the department has a financial incentive to keep officers out of control. The officer said union rules specify that every officer who takes time to testify in court must be paid for at least four hours of work -- even if they spend only minutes at the trial. Seamon said that in the Philadelphia Police Department, where he was second-in-command before coming to the University, it was not uncommon for officers to want to testify in order to receive overtime pay. Terry said that if police officers do not get a chance to testify in court, public safety could be compromised because criminals might be set free due to dropped charges. "My personal concern is that the new process regarding court appearances has interfered with a police officer doing their job," Terry said.Comments powered by Disqus
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