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POLICE UNION LEADER ABSOLVED; ZINE REINSTATED AFTER HEARING.

Byline: Deborah Sullivan Staff Writer

Los Angeles police Sgt. Dennis Zine, accused of sexual harassment in 1997, was found innocent in a police disciplinary hearing that ended this week, officials said Thursday.

Zine, a director of the police union, had been charged with 13 administrative counts of misconduct, including allegations that he had made unwanted advances on a fellow officer, Denise Ward.

Zine was reinstated to full status as a police sergeant following the decision late Wednesday.

The West Hills resident, who served on the Elected Charter Reform Commission, was suspended from work without pay for 11 months since the hearing began last September. But during that time he retained his job and salary as a director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League.

After a hearing that lasted a total of 30 days throughout that 11-month period, LAPD Cmdr. Dan Koenig, Capt. George Gascon and civilian member Robert Harrison issued a draft of their ruling, characterizing both Zine and Ward as unreliable witnesses.

It said the truth probably was somewhere in between Ward's complaints of sexual harassment and Zine's description of their relationship as a courtly romance.

Zine declined comment Thursday.

An LAPD spokesman said the department conducted a proper review.

``Sgt. Zine was treated like any other employee, certainly treated fairly and with respect,'' said the spokesman, LAPD Cmdr. Dave Kalish. ``In this case another employee alleged very serious misconduct. We had an obligation and responsibility to investigate allegations of misconduct. The department investigated it, adjudicated it, and the outcome speaks for itself.''

Earlier, Zine's attorney Darryl E. Mounger had characterized the investigation as retaliation by Police Chief Bernard C. Parks against Zine's role in the union and criticism of the chief.

Union officials put those accusations behind them after the announcement of Zine's exoneration.

``At the time the charges were brought against Dennis, we certainly were concerned about the political motives of the chief in charging Dennis,'' said League President Dave Hepburn. ``But I think the board listened to the evidence and did the right thing.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 30, 1999
Words:339
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