A federal jury awarded a former police cadet $847,785 in damages, deciding that the hearing-impaired man can safely serve as a police officer in Boston, more than four years after the police academy pulled him out of the academy graduation for perceived hearing lapses.
Richard Dahill Jr., a Boston native who has worn hearing aids in both ears since he was three, testified that his hearing has never been a problem in his jobs as a lifeguard and teacher in juvenile detention centers and it would not impair his abilities as a police officer.
Police Department attorney William V. Hoch argued that Dahill’s impaired hearing would endanger colleagues and citizens, as well as himself. Hoch said Dahill failed to hear gunshots and verbal commands in police academy training exercises.
Nevertheless, after the verdict, the Police Department’s legal adviser, Mary Jo Harris, said the department probably would not appeal the decision, which requires the department to reinstate Dahill as a police officer.