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Black Tampa school resource officer who used n-word assigned to patrol

Delvin White had hoped to return to Middleton High School, instead, saying he was “made to be an SRO.”
Delvin White, center, stands with students and staff at Middleton High School on March after he was fired from his job as a school resource officer for using the n-word on two separate occasions. When the city of Tampa's Civil Service Board reinstated White to his job at the Tampa Police Department on Monday, White said he hoped to return to Middleton, but a Tampa police spokeswoman said Tuesday that White was being assigned to patrol.
Delvin White, center, stands with students and staff at Middleton High School on March after he was fired from his job as a school resource officer for using the n-word on two separate occasions. When the city of Tampa's Civil Service Board reinstated White to his job at the Tampa Police Department on Monday, White said he hoped to return to Middleton, but a Tampa police spokeswoman said Tuesday that White was being assigned to patrol. [ Courtesy Delvin White ]
Published Aug. 24, 2021

TAMPA — After Tampa police Officer Delvin White won his job back on Monday after getting fired for using the n-word, he hoped to return to Middleton High School, where he was a beloved school resource officer.

That’s not happening.

Instead, White is being assigned to patrol, Tampa police spokeswoman Jamel Laneè said in an email Tuesday. Laneè did not immediately have additional details or a comment from the department or police Chief Brian Dugan on the decision.

A spokesman for the Tampa Police Benevolent Association, the union that helped White in his successful appeal, did not immediately have a comment on White’s new assignment.

Related: Black Tampa cop fired for using n-word gets his job back

The city’s Civil Service Board voted 3-0 on Monday to reinstate White effective immediately. At the end of a five-hour hearing, the board agreed the city had cause to discipline White, who is Black, for violating the city’s policy against using racial slurs and other discriminatory language. But the board found that termination was an excessive punishment.

Dugan fired White in March for using the word on two separate occasions in November. In one case, he was speaking to his wife on the phone while driving his patrol car. In the second instance, which Dugan said he found far more disturbing, White called a Black Middleton student the slur while he was arresting the teen.

Tampa police Officer Delvin White, seen here in an undated photo provided by the Tampa Police Benevolent Association, was fired on March 2, 2021 by police Chief Brian Dugan for using the n-word on two separate occasions. The PBA says it will fight the termination.
Tampa police Officer Delvin White, seen here in an undated photo provided by the Tampa Police Benevolent Association, was fired on March 2, 2021 by police Chief Brian Dugan for using the n-word on two separate occasions. The PBA says it will fight the termination. [ Courtesy of Tampa Police Benevolent Association ]

The city’s personnel manual states, in part, that violating the city’s policy on discriminatory language “shall be grounds for immediate dismissal in the absence of extenuating circumstances.” Students and staff at Middleton rallied behind White after his firing, agreeing that he should be disciplined for using the slur but that firing a beloved Black officer at a school where nearly half the students are Black was unfair and counterproductive.

During Monday’s hearing, testimony from a former Middleton teacher, a Middleton parent and White’s former supervisor about how he excelled in the role and served as a mentor for students helped convince the board that he should be reinstated. The board also considered White’s lack of a serious disciplinary history in his eight years with the department.

An elated White said after the hearing that he hoped to return to Middleton High School, or at least be assigned as a school resource officer elsewhere. He has taken additional training for the job, and was “made to be an SRO,” he said.

Dugan told the Times after the hearing that he would take into account White’s passion for Middleton students and his popularity at the school as he considered where to assign him.

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