05/19/11 — Fremont officer is appealing his firing

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Fremont officer is appealing his firing

By Gary Popp
Published in News on May 19, 2011 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- The Fremont Town Board went into closed session during Wednesday's meeting to consider an appeal by a police officer who was fired last month.

Town officials terminated the employment of Rodney Jarman and he has appealed.

The Board of Aldermen did not reach a consensus Wednesday, and the closed session meeting is scheduled to continue May 24.

Jarman was fired following the recommendation of Fremont's Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie.

McDuffie and several members of the town board have declined to say why Jarman was terminated. The officer had been commended for his work

"We didn't state a reason," McDuffie said. "For legal reasons it is sometimes easier that way."

Jarman said he has retained legal counsel. He and his lawyer, Walter A. Schmidlin III, attended a portion of the closed session.

After the meeting, Schmidlin shed some light on why McDuffie may have been motivated to terminate Jarman's employment.

"Mr. McDuffie gave an outline of the things that he thought led or were basis for Officer Jarman's termination," Schmidlin said. "His initial reason was Officer Jarman was zealous. And he ended with he was disrespectful to Mr. McDuffie."

Schmidlin said McDuffie also commented on an automobile wreck involving Jarman.

"He said that Officer Jarman was involved in an at-fault accident, what he did not say was that Officer Jarman had been at work for 20 hours and he had wrecked his personal car after he fell asleep at the wheel," Schmidlin said.

Schmidlin said McDuffie made reference to Jarman responding to a call when he was off duty.

"He said that he had responded to a call for aid in his personal car when he was not on duty. I pointed out to the board that there is only three officers and you probably want them all there if it is an emergency," Schmidlin said.

Jarman joined the Fremont Police in November 2009.

Jarman admitted that he had been reprimanded for using excessive speeds while responding to an overdose call and for backtracking to a crime scene to find a cell phone that he said contained confidential information.

On both speeding infractions, Jarman was traveling from Goldsboro to Fremont, he said.

Jarman said he has also been reprimanded by the town board for using a patrol car to drive to teach gang and drug awareness classes at Norwayne Middle School.    

While Jarman's work history may contain blemishes, his record is also adorned with three commendations for his performance as an officer.

He received one in October 2010 for attending classes on his days off, taking courses to better himself; applying for a grant and obtaining printers for patrol vehicles; taking on positions of evidence technician and field training officer; and being elected the state president of the National Association of Field Officers.

Jarman was also awarded two commendations in February of this year. The first recognized Jarman for preparing the department for an SBI audit, the second recognized Jarman's performance while responding to a shooting in January.

A letter prepared by Schmidlin, which was addressed to McDuffie, states that proper protocol was not taken on multiple accounts during the process of Jarman's termination.

In the letter, it makes a request on Jarman's behalf for McDuffie to remove himself from further actions related to the appeals process to insure impartiality.