A 17-year veteran with the Hubbard Township Police Department will soon be back on the job after trustees voted in favor of reinstating Michael Orr. This comes after lengthy tension that was nearing arbitration following Orr's removal from the department in 2022.

Orr was fired after a physical encounter he had with a truck driver. He was terminated once by township trustees but an initial arbitration process allowed Orr to get his job back the first time. He was quickly fired a second time after it was recommended by now-retired Police Chief Greg Tarr regarding the same incident.

Once he was fired again, Orr filed for arbitration and trustees argued the procedure was not followed properly. "Therefore, this had taken a long period of time between the legal council and the union to get to where we're at today," explained Trustee Rick Hernandez.

Trustee Bill Colletta said publically Tuesday he regrets voting to terminate Orr back in 2022. Colletta and Jason Tedrow agreed Orr deserves his job back.

"Were they firable offenses or should he be terminated for them?" Colletta said. "Could we have done other things [instead of firing Orr]? I believe so."

"Looking at some of the information and some of the complaints, those did not line up with the facts of the videos provided. So, that brought a concern of myself," Tedrow said to the crowd.

Trustee Rick Hernandez also voted for Orr's termination in 2022. He abstained from voting for his reinstatement.

"I'm abstaining from that vote due to the fact that I have been here as a trustee and I will not vote on that," Hernandez said. "I don't want to be responsible for anything down the road mishap-wise."

Hernandez's decision was met with boos from the crowd and one audience member even stuck her middle finger at Hernandez.

Applause erupted from some crowd members when the vote was made. Others were not so sure it was the right move.

One man asked for more information on what other departments Orr was terminated from in the area. Others spoke on the concern of legal fee price tags regarding Orr.

"I believe that probably the process of arbitration would be a good procedure to follow and let the arbitrators make the decision," Hernandez told 21 News. "However the [other] trustees decided differently."

Trustee Colletta and Tedrow said their decision to reinstate Orr was to partially dodge the township from undergoing another arbitration with Orr, which would have cost the township about $160,000 in legal fees. Audience members stated Orr has won every arbitration involving him.

Trustees nodded when the audience mentioned the township's legal fees exceeding $200,000 involving Orr.

Audience members spoke publically at Tuesday's trustees meeting, saying Orr was wrongfully accused and should have never lost his job.

Colletta added the police department is also on board with the reinstatement.

Officer Orr will be back patrolling for the department starting on March 17. He was not present at Tuesday's meeting.