Sgt. Anthony Kaiser and Officer Rick Boblitt were originally terminated in June 2015 by DeFuniak Springs Police Chief Mark Weeks after an internal affairs investigation revealed a climate of ongoing racial harassment involving another officer.

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — On Monday, Sgt. Anthony (Tony) Kaiser and Officer Rick Boblitt will return to duty with the DeFuniak Springs Police Department.

They were originally terminated in June 2015 by Police Chief Mark Weeks after an internal affairs investigation revealed a climate of ongoing racial harassment involving another officer.

After consultation with the city’s labor attorney, it was his recommendation that the best course of action was termination. The city manager also concurred with the recommendation.

About a month after the firing, though, Kaiser and Boblitt were put back on the police force and placed on paid administrative leave. An appeals hearing was held July 24 that year in the office of City Manager Sara Bowers, who finalized her decision to uphold the terminations on Aug. 31.

"Although we stand behind that decision, we also will comply with the arbitrator's decision of reinstatement to their original positions," the police department said in a media release Thursday. "The arbitrator did state in her ruling, '… the city did prove that Grievant Boblitt violated work rules regarding the use of verbal conduct directed or based upon another person’s race or national origin. Grievant Kaiser failed to take corrective action upon witnessing such conduct.' ”

The arbitrator further addressed the union’s allegations that the terminations were related to politics by stating, “I make no finding regarding this theory,” the release said.

The final judgment of the arbitrator, handed down two weeks ago on June 21, is that both officers receive punishment of a 5-day suspension without pay, which will be reflected in their personnel files.

The city remains committed to providing a work environment that is free from harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information, disability or veteran status, the release said. The city plans to conduct ongoing training for all employees that focuses on workplace sensitivity to other races and ethnicities.