CPD officer appeals suspension

September 29, 2009 9:46:00 AM

Jason Browne - [email protected]


A Columbus police officer headed into retirement next month is appealing a 12-day suspension. 


Lt. Keith Worshaim, a shift commander and 25-year veteran of the CPD, has formally appealed the suspension levied by Columbus Police Chief St. John. 


Columbus Police Chief Joseph St. John could not comment on the matter, but a source who wished to remain anonymous reported Worshaim''s unpaid suspension -- which began on Sept. 8 -- was the result of several infractions. 


"It''s true," St. John said of the suspension and appeal. "But I just can''t comment on it because it''s a personnel issue." 


One incident involved an officer on Worhshaim''s shift granting a ride-along to a private citizen. St. John ordered the ride-along to last four hours, but Worshaim reportedly cut the ride-along short and ordered the officer to return the citizen to the police department. 


In another incident, Worshaim is said to have put a new officer on foot patrol after the officer pointed out Worshaim had not met the qualifications to carry a Taser. Each officer must be Tased in order to carry a Taser. 


A third incident centered on Worshaim''s poor treatment of members of the media at the scene of accidents or crimes. 


St. John issued a reminder to the police force to allow appropriate access to the media, after which Worshaim again mistreated a media member, the source said. 


Worshaim could not be reached for comment. 


Worshaim was sent home on paid administrative leave Aug. 28; on Sept. 8, he began his unpaid suspension. 


Worshaim has hired attorney Rod Ray to represent him in the appeal process. Ray also represented Columbus Police Department officers Wade Beard, Heath Beard and Robert Walker when they appealed their 15-day suspension for a May 6 incident at the Vicksburg National Military Park, where the trio and Cpl. Spence Wallingford, also a Columbus police officer, were attending training. 


Lowndes County Sheriff''s Office officials filed a letter of reprimand against LCSO Deputy Scott Glasgow, who also was involved in the incident. 


According to reports, Glasgow, Wallingford, Heath Beard, Wade Beard and Walker were riding through the park in a marked Columbus police cruiser and flashing the vehicle''s lights and sirens at passersby. 


The reports also claimed Glasgow and his fiancĂ© were riding in the vehicle''s open trunk.  


Since the Vicksburg incident, one officer, aside from Worshaim, and one auxiliary employee have been suspended from the CPD, as the result of a Community Work Program participant and others being involved in a gun theft from the department''s firing range off Martin Luther King Drive, in June. 


Because Worshaim has hired legal counsel, Columbus City Attorney Jeff Turnage is now handling the matter. 


The issue will be brought before the Columbus City Council next Tuesday. 


"They''ll review whether what I did was appropriate for what I thought he did," said St. John. "They can overturn it if they want." 


Capt. Joe Johnson, who has served with Worshaim for the duration of Worshaim''s time with the CPD, described the internal affairs and accreditation officer as a "good officer." 


"There''s no doubt about that. He does his job," said Johnson, who serves as assistant police chief. 


Worshaim recently turned in his notice of retirement. Oct. 23 is scheduled to be his last day with the CPD.