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Az. sergeant unable to appeal removal from K-9 unit

The Associated Press
PHOENIX, Ariz. — A Chandler police sergeant whose police dog died after he accidentally left it in a hot car for several hours was unable to appeal his department's decision to remove him from its K-9 unit.

Sgt. Tom Lovejoy said he wanted to appeal but was unable to because of department policy.

Maricopa County sheriff's deputies arrested Lovejoy on Sept. 5 on suspicion of reckless animal abuse after he forgot the police dog in his patrol car Aug. 11 for more than 12 hours.

Chandler Police Chief Sherry Kiyler said last month that the department decided to remove Lovejoy from his position as Chandler's K-9 unit supervisor and suspend him for two days without pay.

Lovejoy had five days to appeal his suspension but police policy says employees cannot appeal an administrative decision to remove them from their units.

Lovejoy will be eligible to reapply for his position in the K-9 unit a year after the suspension and said he plans to reapply if he can.

However, the department is searching for someone to fill the K-9 sergeant position, a move that would likely limit Lovejoy's ability to return.

Lovejoy has been working on administrative duties for a patrol unit and will be assigned to supervise eight patrol officers in January, Chandler police said.

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