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What's next for St. Louis County dispatcher who used 'n word' on police radios

The timing of termination — or resignation — will be telling

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — On Wednesday, the dispatcher who used the "n word" on an open St. Louis County police radio mic will become eligible for a full pension.

But whether the dispatcher – who is related to Chief Mary Barton – makes it to that date remains to be seen.

The dispatcher used an expletive followed by the racial slur on county police radios Jan. 9.

The department confirmed the dispatcher was suspended during his shift.

Multiple officers and police organizations have since called for his immediate termination.

And Barton has excused herself from the internal investigation.

But termination doesn’t happen that fast in the police world.

First, there is a pre-termination letter – should the department determine from an internal investigation whether an employee should be fired.

I’m told the dispatcher got that letter Monday after a lightning fast Internal Affairs investigation.

Once they get a pre-termination letter, employees have five days to respond, or appeal, the department’s decision.

That means the dispatcher has until the end of Saturday to file a response.

Then the ball is back in the department’s court.

It could uphold its decision to terminate.

It could change course.

There is no deadline on when the department needs to respond.

So, if the department doesn’t respond before Wednesday, the dispatcher could resign and collect a full pension.

If the department tells the dispatcher it is upholding its decision to terminate before Wednesday, the dispatcher will not be fully vested in the pension system.

That means the dispatcher won’t be eligible for a full pension until the age of 62.

So, the timing of the termination – or resignation – will be telling.

It’s unclear how old the dispatcher in question is.

Sgt. Benjamin Granda told 5 On Your Side to ask for his age via a Sunshine request.

“This is probably most appropriate to be directed to the record room through the online portal,” he wrote.

I’ll update you when I get a response.

The dispatcher also has the right to ask for a trial of sorts before the Board of Police Commissioners.

From my experience, those can take months, even years, to complete.

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