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Gardena Reinstates Police Officer Involved in Shootings

June 12, 1986

GARDENA — A police officer who was forced to take disability retirement after he was involved in a series of shootings, including the fatal shooting of a man suspected of stealing a car, has been returned to duty by the City Council.

After a report by a hearing officer, council members on Tuesday voted to return officer Craig Knapp to duty. Knapp, who had been involved in seven shootings during 12 years on the force, had been placed on disability retirement in August, 1984, by former City Manager Martin Reagan. Knapp immediately appealed.

Hearing officer Bicknell Showers said that Reagan had relied on a Los Angeles Sheriff's Department psychologist who concluded that Knapp had a "personality disorder which predisposes him toward the inappropriate use of force and particularly the inappropriate use of a firearm."

Showers said the psychologist relied too heavily on one type of personality test. Moreover, a psychiatrist who conducted three interviews with Knapp determined that he was fit to work as a police officer, Showers wrote.

Showers added that while the seven shootings were "substantially more shootings than a police officer is usually involved in," all were investigated and Knapp was found to have followed department policy.

Knapp, who could not be reached for comment, will receive $12,882 in back pay--the difference between his disability payments and salary. The city spent more than $40,000 in legal and hearing officer fees.

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