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Arbitrator rules city must rehire police officer

MARYSVILLE — A former Marysville Police officer, who was fired by the city after his daughter was accidentally killed by his own personal firearm, appears set to get his old job back, thanks to a recent ruling by an arbitrator.

“The city is prepared to carry out the arbitrator’s ruling and bring Derek Carlile back to a police officer position in the Marysville Police Department,” said Doug Buell, community information officer for the city of Marysville.

Carlile was sworn into the Marysville Police Department on Sept. 28, 2009, and placed on paid administrative leave shortly after the March 11, 2012, death of his 7-year-old daughter, who was shot the day before by her 3-year-old brother, when Carlile left his children unattended in the family van with his unsecured handgun.

The Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office charged Carlile with second-degree manslaughter on May 22, 2012, to which he pled not guilty at a June 5, 2012, arraignment in Snohomish County Superior Court, but prosecutors declined to retry the case after it ended in a mistrial on Nov. 13, 2012, due to a deadlocked jury.

The Marysville Police Department’s internal affairs investigation into the case began on Jan. 8, 2013, making sure to wait until after the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office had completed its own investigation, after which the city of Marysville announced Carlile’s firing on May 6, 2013.

Carlile was fired for committing a negligent act, endangering himself or others, not promoting a positive image as a police officer and conduct unbecoming a police officer.

The Marysville Police Officers Association filed a grievance on Carlile’s behalf on May 30, 2013, and the subsequent arbitration hearing followed the dispute process outlined by the city’s labor contract, with city officials pledging to abide by the ruling of the hearing officer who served as the outside arbitrator.

Through the arbitration hearing — which ran Oct. 21-22, 2013, and was closed Dec. 23, 2013 — the arbitrator concluded that Carlile’s off-duty conduct was serious enough to warrant substantial discipline, but not sufficient to warrant his termination, especially in light of his record with the Marysville Police Department and the conclusion that his safety violation was a singular event that will never be repeated.

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