Testimony heard in Lt. Erick Sortlund’s termination hearing | Enumclaw Civil Service Commission

There was occasional high drama in the Enumclaw Municipal Court today, June 22, as the Civil Service Commission heard testimony on the termination case of Lt. Erick Sortland.

The Enumclaw Police Department lieutenant was terminated in Oct. 2011. Sortland appealed his termination to the Civil Service Commission. The hearing is expected to last at least a couple of days.

The hearing opened at 9 a.m. Friday with statements from the two attorneys representing the parties.

John T. Kugler is representing the city and Brett Purtzer represents Sortland. The attorney advising the commission P. Stephen DiJulio.

In Kugler’s opening statements he alleged a history of insubordination directed at Police Chief Jim Zoll, discrimination against women officers, Sortland’s misrepresenting himself as a King County Sheriff’s Deputy and a member of the Tacoma Swat team, creating a hostile working environment and retaliation against officers who went against his demands.

Purtzer stated during his opening statement the problem in the department centered on an issue between Sortland and Zoll. The attorney said the department was dysfunctional in terms of the chain of command.

Purtzer said Sortland was addressing safety concerns in the the department and stated the lieutenant denies the charges he impersonated a sheriff’s deputy or a member of Tacoma SWAT team.

The attorney said the issue was at heart a disagreement between two senior commander staff.

More details of the hearing will be added.