A Pennsylvania police officer has been suspended for attending church services during his shift, reports The Christian Post.
Middletown Patrol Officer Mark Hovan reportedly attended two church services at the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church several months ago while he was on duty. He has now been given a 10-day suspension, which he is fighting because he believes it is a violation of his religious freedom.
Hovan, who has been with the Middletown Police Force for 20 years, says previous police chiefs have allowed him to occasionally attend church while on duty, due to changing shifts and his devout faith. Hovan also said that his church attendance never caused him to neglect his work or miss a call.
Police Chief George Mouchette reportedly warned Hovan about his church attendance and ordered him to “never conduct personal business on Middletown Police Department time.”
Hovan did not obey Mouchette’s wishes, but admitted he had gone against them when Mouchette questioned him.
Town Councilor Robert Reid, who served as the town’s mayor for many years and also was in charge of the police department, said Hovan should not have disobeyed his supervisor, but that the suspension was not necessary.
"I think there should be some action taken, but I can't go along with the 10 days," Reid said.
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Publication date: December 14, 2017