Fired Basehor police officer seeks legislation to protect workers
A former Basehor police officer who filed a civil lawsuit over a wrongful termination claim is working with a state legislator to draft a bill he says would protect first responders not represented by unions from wrongful termination.
The bill, which is still being written, would require an appeals process, said Jason Cory, who was fired by the Basehor police department in 2010.
Cory said he is working with State Sen. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park to draft the legislation.
Smith said his office is researching laws in several other states that have legal protection for first responders and is investigating how those laws can be worked into current Kansas statutes. He hopes to have a bill drafted and ready to present by the 2014 legislative session in Topeka.
Cory sued the City of Basehor and the Basehor Police Department for what he claims was his wrongful termination in 2010. In his state District Court lawsuit, Cory claims current Chief of Police and City Administrator Lloyd Martley, along with former city administrator Mark Loughry and Lt. Robert Pierce, wrongfully fired him on allegations of insubordination.
The city has denied Cory’s claims. Martley declined to comment on the pending litigation or Cory’s legislative efforts during a phone interview this week.
Cory reached out to Smith about two years ago inquiring about the issues he had faced and expressing his idea for Protect the Badge. Smith, a former police officer of 20 years who now teaches at Shawnee-Mission West High School, agreed to research the topic and draft a bill for Cory.
“Having been a first responder, I know that law enforcement officers have seconds to make life or death decisions that later may be reviewed for hours by administrators,” Smith said. “I want to make sure these things get looked at from as many angles as possible before someone is let go.”
In the meantime, Cory has established what he hopes will one day be a full-fledged nonprofit organization called Protect the Badge. The organization’s mission, Cory said, is to provide some aid to first responders who have had no representation or protection from wrongful termination.
Cory has created a Protect the Badge website and Facebook page that has grown from 79 followers 16 months ago to 1,700 followers. Cory says it is simply a “support site” for first responders and even veterans but hopes he will be able to raise the money to turn it into a legitimate nonprofit. He said he has not received donations yet for Protect the Badge but has been funding it himself.