Sgt. Emanuel Nites was back on the job Wednesday morning getting reacquainted with Warren Police Department polices and procedures after nine months off.
Police Chief Eric Merkel said Nites probably will remain in a retraining mode for a few days and then return to road-patrol duties.
An arbitrator ruled this week that Nites should be reinstated to his job with full seniority and rank but not back pay or benefits.
Former Police Chief Tim Bowers fired Nites last December for being untruthful about his involvement in a fantasy football draft party at another officer’s house while Nites was on duty in August 2012.
Bowers said the sergeant was untruthful when he said he had been at the fantasy football draft but “did not participate in the football.”
Bowers said he felt Nites’ statement about his participation was untruthful because Bowers found out later that Nites had a team in the draft, even though another man made Nites’ fantasy-league choices for him.
There also was a question about whether Nites had responded to a call for service while he was at the draft.
Arbitrator James M. Mancini of Lyndhurst ruled that the city didn’t have just cause to fire Nites because there wasn’t clear evidence that Nites was untruthful.
Nites was denied back pay because of two examples of dereliction of duty that he committed while at the party, Mancini said.
One was the length of time Nites spent at the party — 21/2 hours instead of his 30-minute lunch break.
The other was failing to respond to a call for service to back up another officer on a call that required two officers.
Mancini said the termination is therefore reduced to a “disciplinary suspension,” that he believes will “impress upon [Nites] that at all times he is to fully comply with departmental rules and regulations and properly carry out his duties.”
Nites has been on the force since Oct. 1989. He became a sergeant July 2008.