A fired Harmony Township police officer is claiming discrimination because he is an alcoholic and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of another officer’s shooting while he himself was off duty.
Jason Vular, 41, filed a federal lawsuit late last year against the township, which fired him shortly after he was arrested for drunken driving by Pittsburgh police on May 27, 2017. Vular, who was a sergeant at the time, joined the department part-time in 2004 and became a full-timer in 2007.
Vular said he suffered disability discrimination in that he has been diagnosed with “alcohol dependency disorder,” depression, anxiety and compounded PTSD and that township officials were aware of the protected issues.
Vular also claimed he was retaliated against because of his support of former officer Alan Loskoch, 41, who was shot in the line of duty on Oct. 28, 2015. Earl L. Hollins of Aliquippa was convicted of the crime in 2017.
Vular’s lawsuit goes into considerable detail about his alleged support, which included his work as the department’s union representative. He claims he opposed the township’s decision to terminate Loskoch’s employment and opposed its decision to prohibit Loskoch from collecting retirement benefits.
Vular also claims that township commissioners wanted to fire Loskoch so he couldn’t retire and collect a township pension. Vular claimed Commissioner Chairman Glenn Angus offered to promote him if he would file charges against Loskoch, alleging he’d threatened to assault or kill Angus. Vular said he refused because Angus would not put his claims in writing.
Loskoch, who was shot in the chest while wearing a Kevlar vest, recovered physically from the injury. But he suffered partial hearing loss as a result of returning fire from inside his vehicle. He claimed the township failed to accommodate his disability, wrongfully discharged him from his position and allowed harassment and a hostile work environment, and forced him into retirement.
Loskoch settled a lawsuit with the township in October and now receives medical benefits. He currently is working for the U.S. Post Office.
When asked about Vular’s lawsuit, Loskoch reacted in anger, claiming Vular is lying.
“What he’s saying is bullshit. He did everything but support me,” Loskoch said.
“I don’t know where he’s getting this. He’s one of the ones I was making complaints against. … Vular was the one who caused the problems for me. Everyone will see when I give my deposition.”
Loskoch was irate at Vular’s claims to be suffering PTSD from his shooting. Loskoch described being berated when he approached department leadership about problems he was having sleeping after being shot.
“Vular goes to me, ‘What are you, a pussy? Welcome to law enforcement.’ He belittled me … Now he’s filing a lawsuit claiming he has PTSD from the incident? He wasn’t even on duty when I was shot.”
Loskoch said he would be willing to testify as a defense witness for the township even though he remains extremely angry at officials for the way he was treated.
Township Solicitor Richard Start didn’t return a phone call seeking comment. Angus said he had seen the lawsuit, but couldn’t comment on current litigation.
BeaverCountian.com’s John Paul contributed to this report.