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AUSTIN EDITION Officer resigns

City provides no details about investigation into alleged misconduct

From staff reports

An Austin police officer suspended from the department three months ago resigned recently.

Kurt Zehnder, a patrol officer with Austin Police Department, submitted a resignation letter to the city on Jan. 24. Zehnder, who had worked for the department since June 1998, was suspended with pay as a disciplinary action while staff investigated a possible misconduct incident involving him in August.

His resignation became known publicly when Police Chief Paul Philipp submitted a request to Austin City Council to fill Zehnder's job.

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Zehnder was suspended Nov. 18, 2004, and continued under suspension until the day of his resignation.

According Human Resources Director Trish Wiechmann, the Police Civil Service Commission was reviewing the investigation to make a decision on the matter.

"Before a final disposition could be reached, he submitted his resignation," Wiechmann said. No details were given on the nature of the investigation or alleged misconduct.

Zehnder could not be reached for comment.

Before replacing or filling a position such as the one left vacant by Zehnder, the department has to go to Austin City Council for approval. The starting salary for an officer in Austin is $19.20 per hour. After 48 months, the pay increases to $23.10 an hour.

The city is advertising and taking applications to create an eligibility list for full-time positions in the fire and police departments. The current eligibility list for the fire department expired in January. The list is used as a reference once a full-time position opens.

Applications will be taken through Feb. 25.

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