City Dismisses CPD Recruit Class

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Days before their scheduled graduation from the police academy, 27 Columbus police recruits were told Tuesday that they had been laid off, 10TV News reported.

The city's 114th recruiting class was scheduled to graduate on Friday morning, according to a news release issued by the Columbus Division of Police.

Instead of going to work for the city of Columbus, the newly-certified officers will now graduate and search for jobs with other departments in the state of Ohio.

The Fraternal Order of Police said the city was wasting $1.4 million it invested in training the officers in order to save $1 million in the short term. Union president Jim Gilbert also said the city was taking a serious gamble in not hiring the recruits.

"We've worked with the mayor in regards to retirements that we're going to have by January 2011," Gilbert said. "We're going to have over 200 officers that are going to have to retire. By taking these 27 away, and not having any classes at all in 2009, the city is not prepared at all for what's going to hit them."

The decision to dismiss the recruits came five days after the FOP rejected Mayor Michael Coleman's request to accept a pay freeze in 2009.

In addition to rejecting the request, the FOP filed an unfair labor practice charge with the state's Employment Relations Board, alleging that Coleman made a public demand to accept the pay freeze or lose positions.

In a statement, Coleman denied the charge, calling it "an unfortunate attempt to change the subject from the reasonable request I made to all city unions."

Four of the five unions representing city employees have rejected Coleman's request. Only the union representing Columbus firefighters has agreed to delay pay raises.

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