CLINTON — A Camanche police officer has filed an appeal concerning his demotion in rank earlier this year, seeking to be fully restored to his previous rank and be given back pay and benefits.

Patrolman First Class Patrick Luckritz late last week filed an appeal against the city of Camanche and the Camanche Civil Service Commission in which he seeks to be reinstated to the rank of corporal, stating that evidence produced at commission hearings in September does not support his demotion.

His appeal was made about two weeks after the city of Camanche filed a civil lawsuit against Luckritz and the Camanche Civil Service Commission that would overturn the commission’s decision in September to reinstate Luckritz to the department, but demote him, following his dismissal earlier this year.

According to court documents, Luckritz was fired by Camanche Police Chief Robert Houzenga on June 29 on several counts. Luckritz allegedly confronted First Assistant County Attorney Ross Barlow in the Clinton County Attorney’s Office in late January over Barlow’s handling of a case. During that confrontation, city officials allege, Luckritz was “agitated, yelling and accusatory and county attorney staff felt threatened by his behavior.”

He also was accused of violating department policy by conducting an investigation outside the scope of his employment. City officials alleged Luckritz began to investigate his perceived case of misconduct by the Clinton County Attorney’s Office by e-mailing the Iowa Attorney General’s Office from his home and complaining about the Clinton County Attorney’s Office.

Luckritz was accused of not notifying his supervisors at the police department regarding his actions; city officials said Camanche officers had been told in 2002 there was a written procedure that must be followed by officers concerning all investigations.

Luckritz also was accused of neglect of duty. Officials alleged Luckritz failed to testify in court about a curfew case on Feb. 9. They said he failed to show up in court and then later claimed to be sick. They said he failed to notify anyone that he would not be at the courthouse.

He also was accused of insubordination. Officials stated that on Feb. 11, Luckritz was banned from the Clinton County Attorney’s Office by Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf and that Luckritz was informed of the ban that day. The next day, Luckritz allegedly attempted to contact Assistant County Attorney Robin Strausser by e-mail.

Houzenga states that on March 8, Luckritz sent Houzenga an e-mail refusing to make requested amendments to paperwork on a case submitted to the Clinton County Attorney’s Office.

Luckritz is said to have later made the amendments incorrectly by adding editorial comments to the paperwork on March 14.

Then on April 20, Luckritz allegedly told Houzenga during an employee administrative review that he had not been conducting “other investigations, or inquiries, reports or complaints to anyone else concerning the county attorney’s office or about anyone else.”

Houzenga made a written request to Wolf on April 26 and learned Luckritz had contacted the Iowa Supreme Court and filed a formal complaint with that office in regard to the Clinton County Attorney’s Office.

Luckritz was fired and informed he had 14 days to file an appeal with the Civil Service Commission and that his pay and benefits were being terminated on June 29.

Luckritz did appeal, with his case heard by the commission on Sept. 5, 6 and 7. On Sept. 13, the commission decided to modify the termination by reinstating Luckritz, but demoted him to patrolman first class. He also was placed on one year of probation and was to be reviewed in writing every three months during the probation period. He also was given a 30-day suspension without pay and benefits from the date of his termination.

He was reinstated to the department at the patrolman first class designation with pay and benefits effective 30 days after the initial termination.

The city appealed that decision in mid-October, asking that the court reverse the decision of the Camanche Civil Service Commission and reinstate the termination.

The petition also asks for such other relief as may be just and equitable in the premises and for the cost of the action.

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