A Pine Bluff police officer has appealed her suspension for reportedly being late to court.

A Pine Bluff police officer has appealed her suspension for reportedly being late to court.

Officer Andrea Cherry, who is currently a School Resource Officer at Jack Robey Junior High School and a former police department Public Information Officer, was suspended by Police Chief Brenda Davis-Jones for 30 days on Jan. 13.

Vickie Conaway, director of the city’s Human Resources Department said Cherry filed an appeal last Friday, and a hearing by a review board composed of city employees from other departments will be conducted within 15 days. That board was created when the Pine Bluff Civil Service Commission was abolished.

Cherry said she was late for an appearance in juvenile court because she was called to the west side of Jack Robey by an assistant principal to assist in searching for a reported weapon on campus.

“I was dealing with what I believed was an immediate situation and when Mr. (Ronald) Laurent (principal at Jack Robey) came to tell me they needed me in court, I went right down there,” Cherry said.

She said she was able to testify before Juvenile Judge Earnest E. Brown Jr., about the arrest of a juvenile she had made on campus the previous day and Brown found probable cause to charge that person.

“So there was no great harm done,” Cherry said.

Police spokesman Lt. Bob Rawlinson said Tuesday that Cherry was suspended for a total of five charges, one of which was reporting to court late, but he declined to specify what the other charges were until the appeal process is completed. He also said Cherry “had a history of previous violations.”

According to the department’s policy and procedures manual, reporting late for duty is punishable by a letter of counseling on first offense, followed by a letter of reprimand for a second offense within 12 months, and up to a three day suspension without pay for a third offense within 12 months.

Cherry said while she had received what she described as “several minor write-ups” from supervisors for offenses in the past, she had never been late for duty.

Another department policy however says that while a written reprimand is the first step in formal discipline, that can be bypassed “if circumstances of the case justify a higher level of discipline.”

Additionally, the policy says “Suspensions can also be the first step in progressive discipline if the act, and/or the result of the act is serious enough that a written warning or reprimand would not promote the intent or spirit of the purpose and need for disciplinary action.”