Police Chief Larry Bailets has been on administrative leave since late last year from North Hopewell Township
The attorney for a police chief placed on leave since November says the chief is being pushed out because of his age and the fact that he wears a hearing aid.
A public hearing regarding the status of Larry Bailets, North Hopewell Township’s chief, is set for next week.
It will involve whether the chief will continue to be employed by the township, said attorney Victor A. Neubaum, solicitor for the township.
But Bailets’ attorney, Ed Paskey, raised concerns about the published advertisement for the hearing and the reasons behind the township placing him on leave in the first place.
“I firmly believe they (the township) want the chief to go quietly,” Paskey said on Thursday. “We’re not going quietly.”
Bailets, who is in his early 70s and has been in law enforcement since the late 1960s, was placed on paid administrative leave on Nov. 12, Paskey said.
Some might remember Bailets as the first officer on the scene at North Hopewell-Winterstown Elementary School in 2001 when a man with a machete entered the school and injured teachers and students.
Bailets is now on unpaid administrative leave. Paskey said that happened last month.
“They want him out because he’s too old, and he wears a hearing aid,” Paskey said. “And that’s a hell of a way to end someone’s career when he’s seven months away from collecting full retirement pension.”
The chief requested the public hearing, effectively bringing the case into a public forum, and the township will present its evidence regarding the matter, Neubaum said.
He declined to respond to Paskey’s assertions that hearing or age are a factor.
The hearing is pursuant to the Police Tenure Act, “the subject matter of which is the charges filed against Chief Larry Bailets,” the public notice reads in part.
Those charges have nothing to do with any wrongdoing on the part of Bailets, Neubaum confirmed, and there is “no allegation that he has done anything wrong in the performance of his duties.”
The 2-by-2-inch notice was published in the classifieds section of the York Daily Record on Thursday.
“It’s demoralizing for him when you spend your entire career in law enforcement to have your career end under the town home rentals,” Paskey said.
Neubaum did not comment further about why the township placed the chief on leave. A township supervisor, when interviewed about the matter in December, said that there was a “concern for the chief’s well-being and the community’s well-being.”
Paskey said he received a notice of the “charges” in late February.
They say that Bailets has “severe hearing loss” that affects his ability to do his job, according to a review of documents provided by Paskey. The township performed a hearing test in November on Bailets. Paskey said Bailets was not permitted to wear his hearing aid during the test.
The chief has worn a hearing aid for roughly the last 20 years, and the township has “known about it for years,” Paskey said.
Bailets was hired as chief in 2007 when the North Hopewell Township Police Department banded back together years after it dissolved.
Paskey said he wrote back to the township, requesting accommodations to be made in the form of letting Bailets wear his hearing aid.
Neubaum said the township is precluded from any discussion regarding the chief, until the public hearing.
“You have to understand, this type of information is protected healthcare information,” Neubaum said.
Township supervisors could not be reached for comment.
Another attorney will advise the supervisors as far as how they will proceed in the case, Neubaum said. That attorney with the York firm Stock and Leader is known as “conflict counsel,” Neubaum said. The attorney could not be reached for comment.
“In order to protect the chief’s rights as much as we can, we get conflict counsel,” Neubaum said.
When: 3 p.m., April 12
Where: North Hopewell Township Municipal Building, 13081 High Point Road
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