© 2012 Idaho Press-Tribune

NAMPA — A lawsuit by three officers against the Nampa Police Department has been dismissed, and attorney Jim Davis says the department is ready to begin the healing process.

The request for dismissal was filed Tuesday, after a $189,000 settlement was reached between the parties.

The purpose of the settlement was “to allow the police department to heal and move forward,” Davis, the attorney representing the department in the suit, said.

In the original lawsuit, officers Leonard Claunts, Joseph Huff and Curtis Shankel alleged that then-Chief Bill Augsburger and other administrators retaliated against them when they expressed concerns about department operations.

Mayor Tom Dale and Deputy Chief Craig Kingsbury were also named in the suit.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale authorized the dismissal Wednesday.

The dismissal was filed in “prejudice,” meaning all parties are released of liability and the case cannot be retried at a later date.

“Everything is released,” Davis said. “We’re just returning back to where we were.”

This does not mean, however, that the officers will be reinstated to the Internal Affairs division, where they claim they were intentionally transferred from after they expressed their concerns.

Claunts, Huff and Shankel claimed in the Sept. 2011 lawsuit that they were intimidated, threatened and reassigned to less-desirable positions after raising questions about waste and misconduct within the department.

The $189,000 settlement, as well as some other expenses related to the litigation, will be covered by the city's insurance. 

As of January, the suit had cost $75,000 above and beyond the city’s insurance. Nampa Finance Director Vikki Chandler said at the time that the additional expenses would come out of the city’s litigation budget.

The attorney for Claunts, Huff and Shankel — Erika Birch of Idaho Job Justice — could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

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