Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 597, 250 Honorable
Craig Owen Marcotte, Judge
PETTIETTE, ARMAND, DUNKELMAN, WOODLEY, BYRD & CROMWELL,
L.L.P. By: Joseph S. Woodley Counsel for Appellant
R. CASEY Counsel for Appellee, Shreveport Municipal Fire and
Police Civil Service Board
BREEDLOVE LAW FIRM By: Pamela N. Breedlove Counsel for
Respondent, Mark Wheeler
PITMAN, COX, and STEPHENS, JJ.
City of Shreveport ("City") appealed a decision by
the Shreveport Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board
("Board") to the First Judicial District Court,
Caddo Parish, Louisiana. The district court upheld the
Board's decision. The City now appeals the district
court's decision. For the following reasons, we affirm.
Mark Wheeler has been with the Shreveport Police Department
("SPD") for over 25 years. In September of 2015,
Lt. Wheeler had to have surgery on his feet, requiring him to
take sick leave. He expected to be back to work in six weeks,
but complications from the surgery occurred. He was out on
leave until March 30, 2016. In March of 2016, Lt. Wheeler had
been medically cleared to return to work and qualified with
his firearm. He was assigned to work in the property room.
There were no issues or problems with his sick leave.
issue arose in regard to Lt. Wheeler's annual P.O.S.T.
training. P.O.S.T. certification is required to be
completed every 13 months. It is SPD policy that officers
complete their annual training during their birth month,
which is November for Lt. Wheeler. Lt. Wheeler needed to
complete his P.O.S.T. training in November of 2015, but he
was on extended sick leave. SPD policy does not allow an
officer to attend training while on sick leave. While on sick
leave, officers are limited to the following activities,
according to the policy manual:
Unless granted special consideration, members on sick leave
shall remain at their residence for the entire sick leave
period except to participate in such activities as voting,
religious activities, obtaining medication, [medical care],
rehabilitative or therapeutic exercise, other therapeutic
activities, obtaining food or meal.
February of 2016, Lt. Wheeler received a letter from human
resources stating he had not completed his annual P.O.S.T.
training and he had until March 31, 2016, to complete the
training. The letter also gave the option of completing a
P.O.S.T. waiver instead of the training. The P.O.S.T. waiver
was created by the P.O.S.T. Council. The Chief of Police is
required to sign the waiver before it is submitted. SPD does
not have any written regulations or policies regarding the
signing of P.O.S.T. waivers for officers.
Wheeler submitted his P.O.S.T. certification waiver to Chief
Shaw. Chief Shaw did not sign the waiver, and his reasons for
not signing are not known. By not signing the waiver, Lt.
Wheeler's P.O.S.T. certification was revoked because he
could not get his re-trainer by March 31, 2016. When his
certification was revoked, the State portion of his pay was
suspended. Lt. Wheeler requested that Chief Crump sign the
waiver, but he also refused. Because of his inability to
attend P.O.S.T. training and lack of a waiver, Lt.
Wheeler's P.O.S.T. certification was revoked by the
P.O.S.T. council, effective May 12, 2016.
Wheeler initially took the issue of the Chief not signing the
waiver to the First Judicial District Court by filing a
petition for mandamus to order the Chief to sign the waiver.
The district court said it would not order the Chief to sign