Former CPD Officer Rob Sanders headed back to court

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SALINE COUNTY - Former Columbia Police officer Rob Sanders will head back to the courtroom in May 2018 as he continues to fight to get his job back. For six years, he's been trying to return to CPD as a canine officer.

"It's staggering to me that something like this can last this long," Sanders said, Wednesday. "It's taken nearly seven years to muddle through this."

The department fired Sanders in 2011 for allegedly assaulting an inmate by shoving him in a holding cell. The police department's internal affairs department found Sanders' did not violate department policies and procedures, but Sanders was still let go. 

At the time of Sanders' dismissal, Chief Ken Burton told KOMU 8 News, "The personnel action that has been taken demonstrates a zero tolerance for conduct that undermines the Columbia Police Department's credibility, or that may damage the public's trust in our department."

In 2013, Judge Carol England, who serves Boone and Callaway counties, found Sanders not guilty of third degree assault. Sanders went on to sue the city for his job back. 

In 2015, Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce found in favor of Sanders in his suit against the City of Columbia. Since that decision, the city has appealed and asked for a new trial in Boone County where the incident occurred. The appeals court granted the city's request for a change of venue.

Because Boone County judges had been exposed to Sanders case, the Missouri Supreme Court assigned Judge Dennis Rolf from La Fayette County. He also helps serve Saline County and agreed to hold some proceedings there since it's closer to home for all parties, Sanders said. On Tuesday, Judge Rolf set the new trial to begin on May 16, 2018 in a Boone County courtroom.

When asked why he is still fighting for his job after six years, Sanders said, "I was living out my life's dream to me and I wasn't ready to leave. I loved my time in law enforcement."