Embattled Rincon officer Reale resigns

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A city police officer who was suspended for three days without pay in May stemming from a number of wrecks in his patrol car resigned Friday, days after half of his compensation was reinstated following his appeal hearing.

Cpl. Richard Reale was placed on leave May 5, 9 and 10 and was to report back for duty May 13 after a third reported wreck in which damages were sustained to the patrol car assigned to him.

The information on the wrecks was garnered in June through a request under the Georgia Open Records Act by Effingham Now.

Another request was pending this week regarding Reale’s resignation, including his letter of resignation and email between the police chief, city manager and council members.

After being counseled on a March 18 wreck in the form of a written report, which references a first wreck in February that was not detailed, Reale was involved in another accident in May.

Chief Mike Bohannon and Sgt. Phillip Scholl again counseled Reale during another meeting after the third accident. During that meeting, Reale reportedly became irate, threw his holster down and announced he quit.

After meeting with Bohannon and City Manager Mike Phillips a short time later, Reale clarified he didn’t want to quit his job. It was later determined he would be suspended for three days — or 36 hours — without pay.

City policy states employees have the right to appeal any suspension.

Reale did appeal, and city officials upheld the suspension but reinstated half, or 18 hours, of his pay. He also was asked to take a defensive driving course.

According to city officials, Reale did not list a reason for his abrupt departure from the department in his resignation letter.

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