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L.A. officials fire traffic officer who appeared in adult film [Updated]

July 21, 2011 |  1:35 pm

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has fired a 23-year veteran employee who appeared in uniform three years ago in a pornographic video.

Traffic officer John K. Dancler was discharged Monday. He challenged his firing on the same day, filing an appeal with the city’s five-member Civil Service Commission, said Maggie Whelan, general manager for the city’s Personnel Department.

Dancler was hired in 1988 and earned nearly $56,000 annually. Whelan would not give a reason for the termination.

[Updated at 2 p.m. July 21: Bruce Whidden, executive director of the Civil Service Commission, said Dancler was dismissed for engaging in “misconduct on the job and in uniform” and “indecent acts” that reflected unfavorably on the city workforce. Those acts included “groping the bare breasts, spanking the bare buttocks and being straddled by an adult video actress in public” around March 2008, he said.

The investigation was conducted nearly three months ago, after a report on the porn video was aired by KNBC-TV (Channel 4). Dancler's lawyer could not be reached for comment.]

Another traffic officer who appeared in the video, Vaughn Dorsey, still works for the department, Whelan said.

The firing comes at a time when personnel woes are roiling two other city agencies.

Four workers have been placed on leave in the animal services department as a result of an investigation into the disappearance of animals from a shelter in Lincoln Heights and possible time card fraud. City Controller Wendy Greuel said Wednesday that she would conduct a wide-ranging audit of that agency, which is trying to determine whether shelter workers stole dogs and sold them for a profit. More than 10 workers at that agency are under scrutiny.

Meanwhile, four employees have been fired over the past four months at the Department of Building and Safety. Three admitted to accepting bribes in exchange for providing permits and other approvals. A fourth, Frank Rojas, has filed a challenge of his firing to the Civil Service Commission.

The FBI conducted an undercover sting operation at Building and Safety this year, using video and audio to record inspectors taking bribes. In April, a federal grand jury sent department officials a subpoena demanding personnel records on roughly a dozen Building and Safety employees.


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— David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall