Demoted Officer Reinstated as Sergeant
Officer stripped of his rank settled a lawsuit against the town to regain his sergeant's stripes.
It appears brighter days have come for a Parsippany Police officer who last year said he suffered "undue humiliation" at the hands of the department he serves. Political officials, law enforcement leadership and officers were on hand at Town Hall Wednesday morning as Officer Robert Whiteman was reinstated as a sergeant.
Among those in the audience were Township Councilman Paul Carifi Jr., Business Administrator Jasmine Lim, Animal Control Supervisor Chris Dikovics, freeholders John Cesaro and Ann Grossi and Police Capt. and school board member-elect James Carifi.
Without preamble, the swearing-in took place in less than 10 minutes. After a mostly casually dressed crowd was seated, Mayor James Barberio entered Council Chambers with Police Chief Anthony DeZenzo.
"Let's get started," Barberio said.
With that, the mayor administered the oath of office to Whiteman, who was surrounded by his family.
Immediately afterward, Glenn St. John was sworn in as a public safety communicator, a.k.a. police dispatcher.
In May 2011, Whiteman filed suit in Morristown Superior Court against the township, the mayor and the Town Council after he claimed he was “illegally demoted” from sergeant to patrolman, was “illegally suspended” for six months and was assigned a junior officer shirt badge. He said he also was pulled from patrol duty.
Whiteman's legal action accused the defendants of “purposely causing him undue humiliation and anguish.”
An email from Whiteman's attorney said the 22-year Parsippany Police veteran had sought $750,000 in damages and a promotion to lieutenant. A 2012 settlement of the suit netted Whiteman $80,000 in back pay and paved the way for Wednesday's ceremony.
According to NJ.com, the demotion was the result of a 2002 incident involving an alleged violation of Miranda rights on a call in which Whiteman was involved, but was not one of the first officers on the scene.
Asked whether the reinstatement of his rank as sergeant was vindication, Whiteman paused for a moment.
"This is just a very good day," he said.