Fired state police trooper Jerry M. Scarborough has been granted early retirement, but he said he would continue a court appeal of his dismissal.
"Just because you pin on a badge doesn't mean you lose your rights," Scarborough said. "That (appeal) will open the door for other troopers."
The state Retirement and Pension Systems Board of Trustees granted Scarborough's request for "ordinary disability retirement" at its meeting on March 27.
Scarborough, a 38-year-old Darlington resident, was fired in April 1991 after he refused to answer questions duringa police internal affairs interrogation into a confrontation he had with friends of a neighbor.
He immediately appealed the dismissal in Harford Circuit Court, arguing the interrogation violated his constitutional rights to avoid self-incrimination. A hearing on the case is scheduled April 30. The 15-year police veteran was named state police Trooper of the Year in 1989 after making dozens of arrests for drunken driving.
Scarborough has been on sick leave, due to stress, since last spring, pending the outcome of his Harford Circuit Court appeal of his firing by state police Superintendent Elmer H. Tippett Jr.
The former trooper was receiving $36,000 a year while on sick leave. He had earned a salary of $52,000 a year while on active duty.
The 15-member retirement and pension board, whose chairman is state Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein, reviews requests for early retirement for nearly 3,000 state employees a year, said Herbert L. Dyer, theagency's executive director.
Ordinary disability retirement is for employees who suffer illnesses or injuries in an accident that is not work-related, Dyer said.
In-service disability retirement is available for employees who have been injured on the job.
Dyer declined to disclose the income and medical benefits Scarborough will get,saying the information is not part of the public record.
In most cases, income and medical benefits are determined by an employee's annual income, years of service and the amount paid in the medical coverage, Dyer said.
Scarborough said he is not sure what his income and benefits will include because he hasn't received state forms that must be completed for the retirement program.
Meanwhile, the embattled trooper is thinking about making a new career move.
"It's notgoing to be in police work," he said.