An employee of Wayne County’s Department of Public Services received a nasty reward for turning in a stolen gun he found while working the morning of May 3 – he was fired.
John Chevilott, a groundskeeper for the department for the past 23 years, was mowing a lawn near Detroit, Michigan’s Brightmoor area when he inadvertently ran over the loaded snub-nosed revolver. Chevilott secured the weapon in his team’s van, hoping that a Detroit Police Department car would pass by so it could be safely turned in while he and his team continued working.
No law enforcement showed up, however, so Chevilott finished up his shift and returned the county van to the department’s road yard. Later in the evening, he turned the gun in to the local Garden City police. After looking up the gun in police records, they discovered it had been stolen from St. Clair Shores in 2005, on the other side of Metro Detroit. Police commended Chevilott and he went home.
However, not long after he turned in the gun, Chevilott was notified by the department that he had been fired for possessing a firearm on county property, justifying the termination via the department’s policy that employees are not allowed to possess weapons on work property. His termination papers also cite Chevilott’s alleged insubordination and unauthorized access to the road yard that he returned the company van to. Chevilott’s foreman, who had knowledge of the gun’s brief presence on official property, was suspended for 30 days.
Chevilott retorted that he had not in fact “brought a gun to work” in the manner that the policy is referring to, and that there is no official policy for dealing with weapons found on the job. “All I did was secure the situation to make sure nobody else got hurt or killed,” he said in an interview with Fox 2 News.
Thomas Richards, president of the Local 101 Union, said that union is now fighting against the accusations and filed an official grievance. “They did a good thing – they took a gun off the streets, and they’re being punished,” Richards stated in the Fox 2 interview. “There’s never been any policy brought to light on what we should do when they find a weapon.”
At the end of the Fox 2 piece, Chevilott says he’s now fighting to get his job back. He was two years away from retirement.
Check out the full video report from Fox 2 embedded below.