Ind. firefighter arrested on drug charge allowed to resign

Scott West appealed the department's decision to terminate him and submitted a letter of resignation to Peru Fire Chief Erick Hawk

By Carson Gerber
Kokomo Tribune

PERU, Ind. —  A Peru firefighter who was terminated after he was arrested in April on drug charges has been allowed to resign from his position.

Scott West, 38, was arrested April 10 after police encountered West at a grocery store, where a "strong odor of burnt marijuana was coming from his person," according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Police then did a trash pull outside his residence, where they found stems that tested positive for THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes a "high."

Police received a search warrant for his residence, where they found around 6 grams of marijuana, as well as stems, smoking devices and other paraphernalia throughout the house, according to court documents.

West was put on a paid leave of absence from the Peru Fire Department until May 19. The Peru Board of Works then voted to terminate his employment on June 1.

West filed a request for an appeals hearing to challenge the decision. On July 30, he submitted a letter of resignation to Peru Fire Chief Erick Hawk.

On Tuesday, the board of works voted to reverse West's termination and allow him to resign from the department.

Peru Clerk Treasurer Tish Soldi said Wednesday the move ensured West could not bring litigation against the city, and would also allow him to apply for a job with another fire department.

Soldi said it was also made clear at the meeting the city accepted West's resignation not because Peru officials had done anything wrong, but solely as a way to avoid the chance West could bring litigation against the city because of his termination.

"[Peru Mayor Gabe Greer] decided that was a great idea because any future litigation couldn't happen and we wouldn't have to worry about wasting any more tax dollars," Soldi said.

Fire Chief Hawk said in a letter to West his termination stemmed from violating the department's rules and regulations, which states firefighters shall not violate any criminal law.

City Attorney Dustin Kern said in a previous interview West was also accused of conduct unbecoming a fireman for other issues outside the criminal investigation.

Copyright 2018 Kokomo Tribune

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