Morrisville police Cpl Michael Pitcher’s criminal trial was continued Monday the day before it was scheduled begin til March 24.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the proceedings said the trial for the veteran police corporal has been rescheduled due to judges scheduling and Pitcher’s attorney, Louis Busico being on trial in another matter.
This reporter broke the story of Pitcher’s arrest when he was charged in July with felony unlawful use of police computers, misdemeanor charges of terroristic threats, official oppression and harassment of a Yardley man.
The 12 year police veteran was suspended with pay by the Morrisville Council in July, which lead to the hiring of a part-time officer Gary Forrester, at the request of Police Chief George McClay.
Pitcher’s arrest, deepened a rift between the then majority on council and McClay.
The cash strapped borough was limited in terms of what it could do to replace Pitcher’s hours on the streets, with McClay wanting a full timer hired, and council approving a part -time hiring, instead.
Attorneys for the borough’ were concerned with the the potentiality of a law suit if they hired a full timer, thinking it would publicly signal a perception they believed Pitcher would be eventually convicted.
At the time of Pitcher’s suspension, borough Solicitor, Flager & Associates, PC representative Michael Levine said, only action for council to take at this time is to suspend the officer with pay because the officer has due process rights citing the Confidence in Law Enforcement Act -signed into law in January 2009-, which enables municipalities to take action when a public safety officer is accused of a crime.
Then Council President, Debbie Smith would say we have a ghost employee on our books and until the case is fully adjudicated hiring a full time officer was not the prudent thing to do at the time for the cash strapped municipality.
McClay “frustrated” with councils stance said, “We are maintaining our manpower on the street to service our citizens while being at very minimal staffing level. in July.
At the council reorganization meeting last week, the new majority moved on hiring back one police officer.