DeWitt Township, MI – The township’s elected officials voted on Monday night to order DeWitt Township Manager Andrew Dymczyk to meet with the injured police officer he fired and discuss extending his employment and benefits through his recovery from a line of duty injury.
Dymczyk told the DeWitt Township Board of Trustees at a meeting on Feb. 28 that although he terminated DeWitt Township Police Officer Robert “Bob” Stump in February, he hadn’t actually taken him off the employment roster, WSYM reported.
The township manager said Officer Stump’s contract had been extended to the end of March on Feb. 25 in order for Dymczyk to meet with the officer and his representative about his future with the police department.
The trustees directed the township manager to meet with Officer Stump to discuss extending the hero’s roster status and benefits through his hip replacement surgery scheduled for May 11, WSYM reported.
The board also told Dymczyk to work out extending the officer’s employment and benefits coverage through the eight months of recovery the doctors expect it will take for the 14-year veteran of the DeWitt Township police force to be back in shape to work.
Molly Stump told WSYM that she remained “cautiously optimistic” that the township would follow through with providing the medical care her husband needed to recover from his line-of-duty injury and give him a chance to get back to work.
She told The Police Tribune that she thought the public outrage over what had been done to Officer Stump was what motivated the board of trustees to swiftly act.
“We are just incredibly grateful for everyone who shared our story- we are certain we would not be where we are today without the public outcry over our situation,” Molly Stump said. “We are hopeful that the township follows through on their commitment to make this right.”
Last month, the Stumps had just celebrated the good news that Officer Stump would be getting a new hip that would let him return to the law enforcement career he loved when Dymczyk unceremoniously fired him, Molly Stump told The Police Tribune.
Dymczyk told Officer Stump that he had been given enough time to heal and was too expensive, and so they were going to replace him with a new officer that wouldn’t be such a big financial obligation to the township, according to the officer’s wife.
The police department has 17 sworn officers.
“We’re very overwhelmed, very confused by all of this,” Molly Stump told WSYM. “How do you go from two years ago, you know, being hailed a hero, and now you’re a burden to us financially?”
Many residents and members of the police department wanted Officer Stump to be reinstated immediately because thought his termination was in retaliation for him having served as an effective union representative for many years.
He had battled Dymczyk in the past on his fellow officers’ behalf and won on many occasions, according to sources.
The car crash that almost killed Officer Stump occurred at 11:03 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2020 when a suicidal woman intentionally ran her vehicle head-on into his patrol SUV, WILX reported.
Police said the driver – later identified as 33-year-old Randi Justice – had an outstanding warrant and was being chased by the Laingsburg police chief for 11 minutes before DeWitt Township police put down spike strips to try to disable her vehicle.
The police chief said Justice hit the spike strips but continued driving for about a half a mile before she crossed the centerline of the roadway with her 2005 Dodge Caravan and slammed head-first into the SUV being driven by Officer Stump, WILX reported.
Afterwards, Justice admitted to police that she was trying to commit suicide when she intentionally crashed into Officer Stump, the Lansing State Journal reported.
“She did make a statement that she wanted to die, that she was trying to kill herself,” Laingsburg Police Chief Dan DeKorte said.
Investigators have estimated that Justice was doing between 50 and 60 mph when she rammed into Officer Stump’s patrol vehicle, the Lansing State Journal reported.
She was arrested and initially charged with 10 felonies, including attempted murder and reckless driving.
However, prosecutors dropped seven of the 10 charges and she was ultimately allowed to plead no contest to two counts of felonious assault and one count of assaulting a police officer instead, the Lansing State Journal reported.
Molly Stump said prosecutors told them Justice will serve seven-and-a-half years in prison in accordance with that agreement when she is sentenced in March.
Officer Stump was very seriously injured in the intentional wreck caused by the suicidal driver.
His wife told The Police Tribune that surgeons put his hip back together but the pins haven’t held and doctors determined that he needed a full hip replacement.
She said that for the two years since the crash, she and Officer Stump have jumped through the notoriously slow and difficult workman’s compensation hoops to get the medical treatment he required for the officer to be cleared to return to active duty.
In the meantime, Officer Stump tried to return to light duty at his police department.
But Molly Stump told The Police Tribune that DeWitt Township refused to allow him to return in any other capacity than cleared for full patrol, even though other officers in the past have been approved for light duty after line-of-duty injuries.
“The things he’s done in his career, the people he’s protected and saved,” Molly Stump told the Lansing State Journal. “This is how he’s thanked for all those years of giving up holidays and birthdays and working nights?”
When the township manager fired Officer Stump without warning, there was no public thank you, ceremony, going away party, or other acknowledgment of the sacrifices he had made for the community.
She said her husband was told he had become too expensive, they weren’t going to keep him on and pay for his hip replacement so he could come back to work, and warned him to get on his wife’s health insurance by Feb. 28th.
“We are forever grateful for Officer Stump’s 14 years of service and dedication to serving our residents. We wish him continued success in his recovery,” Dymczyk wrote in an emailed statement that was the only formal public acknowledgment made.
Molly Stump sent a letter to the DeWitt Township Board of Trustees asking for an explanation of her husband’s treatment, the Lansing State Journal reported.
“It is devastating to look back over the past two years and consider how Officer Stump spent them in tremendous pain, jumping through hoops in an attempt to get back into the service of your constituents — and to realize that it all meant nothing,” the angry wife wrote.
“The impact of his efforts to protect and save the lives of your constituents over his fourteen years of service is immeasurable,” she continued. “You cannot put a price tag on what he has done and what he has sacrificed. Or maybe you can. It seems that DeWitt Charter Township has deemed his worth to be very measurable — he apparently holds no value at all.”
Molly Stump said the treatment her husband has gotten has made other officers wonder what the township will do to them if they’re wounded in the line of duty, the Lansing State Journal reported.
In response, the trustees put the matter on their next agenda and at least one member of the Board of Trustees told the Stumps that they had no idea Dymczyk planned to fire the wounded hero.
There has been a lot of scuttlebutt about DeWitt Township manager’s prior acrimonious relationship with the wounded officer.
Sources told The Police Tribune that for many years, Officer Stump worked tirelessly as the union representative for his department, and in doing so, had battled with the township manager on more than one occasion.
They said that Dymczyk has held a grudge against Officer Stump for his union advocacy work and that what he has done to the officer since he was hurt in the line-of-duty crash is “purely malicious.”
Molly Stump, who works full time as a teacher, said her husband just wanted to have his hip replaced and return to the job that he once loved.