Ex-officer's suit claims he was fired for reporting Gibson Island problems

November 21, 2001|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

A former Gibson Island police officer whose complaints prompted a state police investigation into security procedures in the gated Anne Arundel County community has filed a lawsuit claiming he was wrongfully fired for reporting the problems.

A state police investigation corroborated some of the officer's allegations that the island's security staff was overstepping its authority. But authorities did not press charges against island officials or security staff, and state police said this week that their investigation was closed after island security passed a surprise inspection.

Richard L. Weippert Sr., 45, of Glen Burnie is suing Gibson Island Corp., the private corporation that operates the community, saying that he was fired for reporting that security guards were regularly driving in cars belonging to the island's specially commissioned police force, wearing police uniforms and making illegal traffic stops.

Weippert worked as an officer on the island's force, which gave him limited police powers, for more than four years before he was fired in October last year.

Weippert said he tried to persuade then-chief of police and island officials to address the problem of security staff operating as if they were police officers. When nothing was done, Weippert said, he went to the state police. Two weeks later, he was fired.

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