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Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

COVINGTON, La. -- The discipline letter issued to Stephen Short stretches four pages.

It starts by laying out the officer's punishment as a 10-day suspension, without pay, and a demotion to the rank of sergeant. Short can return to work on Jan. 15 and can't apply to be a lieutenant again for more than a year.

Chief Tim Lentz said it's also questionable as to whether Short will be allowed to continue as a detective.

'I'm happy and frustrated at the same time too,' he said, 'I know this has been a topic of discussion throughout the community. I wish I would have completed this sooner.'

The punishment comes as a result of the October arrests of two referees at a football game. The incident stemmed from an argument between Short and the referees over crowd control.

The chief describes the incident in detail, and said in the letter, 'An internal investigation was launched and revealed that at the time of the arrest, you had no idea what the referees were being charged with. It wasn't until you returned to the Police Department and a call was made to an assistance district attorney were charges determined. After examining the charges, it is believed that the charges are not applicable in this case.'

The public intimidation charges were dropped against the referees a week later. The letter says Short failed to seek alternatives to arrest and to exercise reasonableness. It also says Short displayed unbecoming conduct and conduct of a discourteous nature.

But the discipline letter doesn't just address the referee incident. Lentz said in the letter, 'While conducting the investigation, it was revealed that you have had an issue with your temper and have at one point attended anger management sessions during your career.'

Because of that, the chief said, he's requiring Short complete a fit-for-duty evaluation before coming back to work.

After waiting two hours for Short to come out of this detectives' building to answer our questions, it seems he snuck out to avoid our cameras.

Lentz hopes this is the end of the controversy he started his new job dealing with.

'Hopefully, today, we've taken a step in the right direction to reestablish the public's trust,' said Lentz.

Earlier this month, an Eyewitness Investigation detailed Short's almost 20-year work history, which included several conduct issues throughout his career similar to those listed in today's discipline letter.

Short has 15 days to appeal the discipline to the civil service board.

Short's attorney did not return a phone call for comment on whether there would be an appeal.

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