Leon Jones' former supervisor calls him an "A No. 1 officer" and a "perfect gentleman," and she would like to have him back.
A D.C. police trail board voted to fire Jones - then assigned to the traffic warrants office at police headquarters - in December, 1976, after marijuana possession charges against him had been lodged, but dropped, in his native North Carolina. Jones appealed his termination to Mayor Walter E. Washington, and says that since September he has repeatedly been told to expect a decision within 10 days. So far, none has been rendered.
"They take their sweet time," said Jim Pressler, an attorney with the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, who is handling Jones' appeal.
Jones was on leave visiting his family in Jacksonville, N.C., when police arrested him and a woman companion, both asleep in the rear of van, in August, 1976. The marijuana was found on the dashboard, said Pressler, and Jones' companion later pleaded guilty to possession.
Jones, 27, says he has not worked since, although he received unemployment benefits for several months. He lives with his wife, who works at Woodward & Lothrop.
Twelve, similar cases of police officers appealing terminations are awaiting action by the mayor, according to Martin Schaller, the mayor's executive secretary. The backlog, which recently included some cases as much as seven years old, has been sharply reduced, said Schaller, and "we no longer have a major problem."
In the past, Schaller has blamed such delays on the time required to secure trial board transcripts and briefs from attorneys, as weel as the mayor's crowded schedule. Pressler said yesterday that he had submitted a brief on Jones' behalf last March.
Like Jones, William Konek was suspended without pay in December, 1976. But he has yet to face a police trial board.
Konek, 29, was arrested on a charge of rape in Alexandria after allegedly dragging a woman into a wooded area close to their homes. A jury acquitted him of rape in July, but found him guilty of assault, recommending the minimum fine of $100. The judge has delayed imposition of that sentence.
Konek testified the woman had consented to have sexual intercourse with him. "We were both fairly drunk at the time," he said yesterday. "She was going to take me to her apartment with her, and then she said no and she fell over a drainpipe or something and broke her purse . . . I picked her purse up and brought it back to her and she called me . . . something, so I told her I was going to leave . . . and she said 'What for?' I said I was and she said 'What for? I said I was a police officer and I would get in trouble. So she said, 'Naw, you're not going to get in no trouble or anything like that.'"
At one point, he acknowledged, he had struck the woman in the face because, he said, she was making too much noise.
Konek, who was sharing a house with an Alexandria police officer, said he learned from his roommate later that night that the woman had been found outside her apartment complex, partially clothed, and had filed a report of rape.
At his trial, "I did not have one witness for me, . . . except for character witnesses," said Konek, who complained that Virginia law restricts efforts to discredit the character and reliability of a rape victim.
The D.C. police internal affairs unit had a representative at the trial, said Konet, and "they had a letter of resignation for me right after the verdict . . . they tried to get me to sign the resignation there."
But he refused, and said he has been waiting ever since to be charged and summoned before the trial board. "They'd be doing me the biggest favor in the world if they would fire me. If they would fire me, I'm eligible for unemployment."
Konek has worked only briefly since his suspension. "Nobody else will give you a job," he said. "No matter where you go, you talk to people, you gotta tell them the truth, you know, you can't tell a lie to them. You gotta tell them that I been suspended without pay. I'm a police officer. I was accused of rape, which is embarrassing."
"You go to unemployment and they tell you that they can't give you unemployment because you're still employed." said Konek. "Even though you're not getting a salary, you're still employed. Police department tells you, now, even though you're not getting paid, you still got to live by police department standards because we're still carrying you as an employee."
Konek has been living with friends, he said, for most of the last year. "I've got more keys to different apartments . . . I owe everybody money . . . I've got a good case. They know they're going to have to pay me - if they don't starve me first."
Konek joined the D.C police in September, 1971, and after several years of undercover work was assigned to the youth division, serving as assistant supervisor of a boys club at 251 V St. NW.
Lawyer Pressler is handling Konek's case as well as Jones', but says he is powerless to speed the process. A police spokesman said yesterday that "final action will be made shortly." There is no time limit for convening a trial board, said the spokesman, except "as soon as practicable after we have completed our investigation."