Courts uphold firing of Pennsylvania cop who lost sense of smell
Saturday, March 28, 2009
An appeals court said a Pennsylvania police department was justified in firing an officer because he lost his sense of smell in an off-duty motorcycle accident.
David Agostino, 44, suffered anosmia, a partial or full lack of sense of smell, due to head trauma suffered from a 2004 crash in Ohio. Officials in Collier Township, a Pittsburgh suburb in Allegheny County, honorably discharged him because they were worried the condition created a risk.
Attorneys for Agostino unsuccessfully argued a sense of smell is not part of the physical exam for prospective police officers, and that there was no statute or police regulation that cited lack of sense of smell as grounds for firing a police officer.
But during the court hearing, a fellow officer testified Agostino could not smell the odor of marijuana and alcohol after pulling over a motorist following a high-speed chase. His police chief also said he failed to smell leaking gas from an elderly resident's furnace.
"[The chief] explained that Agostino's inability to smell if the furnace was leaking gas created a hazardous situation, placing Agostino, the resident and the public in danger because 'it could have possibly caused an explosion,'" Judge Bernard L. McGinley wrote in the decision.
Agostino, of South Fayette Township, could not be reached for comment by media reports after the decision by the three-judge Commonwealth Court panel.
- Dan Majors. "Dismissal of officer who lost sense of smell upheld by court" — , March 27, 2009
- "Court upholds dismissal of policeman who lost his sense of smell" — , March 26, 2009
- Mark Scolforo. "Pa. court to officer: No sense of smell, no job" — , March 26, 2009