Case of fired officer may get arbitrator today
An arbitrator could be chosen today to hear the case of Jeffrey Veltre, 37, of Elizabeth, a seven-year veteran who was fired Oct. 2 by Elizabeth Township commissioners.
“They promised me that they would pick an arbitrator by Friday,” said Steve Greenberg, Veltre’s attorney. Greenberg works with Teamster’s Local 205, the union that represents Veltre.
The union, contending Veltre was wrongfully fired, is seeking his reinstatement and as much as $70,000 in back pay.
On Aug. 28, Veltre was found not guilty by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David Cashman of indecent assault.
The charge was the only reason township commissioners gave to justify Veltre’s dismissal, although they alluded to “other reasons.”
When Veltre was acquitted, he should have gotten his job back immediately, the union contends.
But Veltre has run into other trouble, according to the state police.
Cpl. James Hills in the Commonwealth Law Enforcement Assistance Network — also known as CLEAN — administrative section of state police said Veltre’s privileges to use the CLEAN system have been revoked.
Greenberg, Veltre’s attorney, said the revoking of Veltre’s CLEAN privileges will be an issue at his arbitration hearing. He declined further comment.
The CLEAN system, run by the state police, allows police officers to determine the ownership of a vehicle by entering the vehicle’s license plate numbers into the system.
Hills said Veltre’s privileges have been revoked because he used his access as a police officer to give CLEAN system information to a non-police officer.
“Any information coming out of our system has to be for official purposes,” Hills said.
Hills said his office revoked Veltre’s privileges in March after an investigation by Elizabeth Township police revealed that Veltre had given CLEAN system information to a township resident who claimed someone was following him.
Township police Chief Bob Wallace said he cannot confirm or deny that investigation.
Hills said after receiving information about the incident from Elizabeth Township police, state police conducted their own investigation.
“We know the information was obtained and information was given to someone that it shouldn’t have been,” Hills said.
Carl Bailey, Local 205 business manager, said if Veltre wins his arbitration case and gets his job back, the revocation of his CLEAN privileges wouldn’t prevent him from functioning as a police officer.
Bailey said police frequently check license plates for non-officers, and several officers in Allegheny County without CLEAN privileges still have their jobs. He declined to identify those officers.
“I don’t think he did anything that 99 percent of your police officers don’t do on a daily basis,” Bailey said.