This has not been a good year for the Altoona Police Department.
And it may soon get worse.
In October, four members of the force were placed on paid administrative leave for their roles in an alleged Memorial Day weekend incident in which two men were badly beaten at a local bar.
The four officers have not been identified by Police Chief Janice Freehling, but the case is the hands of a statewide grand jury, which is scheduled to meet for a third time this week.
Altoona police have been investigating the incident internally as well.
On Wednesday, City Council fired Patrolman Eric Kriner, believed to be one of the cops involved in the Memorial Day case in which off-duty police are accused of beating Earl Eshelman, 59, of New Enterprise and Herman "Bo" Lardieri, 38, of Altoona. Eshelman was beaten unconscious and Lardieri suffered a broken jaw by Altoona police officers at Pellegrine's Lounge in Altoona.
Lardieri's attorney, Mark Zearfaus, said he has given notice that he intends to file a federal lawsuit against the city about the incident, and the suit has named Freehling, City Council and solicitor Larry Clapper.
Either through defending itself or via a potential settlement, this could get expensive for a city that does not have the money to pay for the alleged indiscretions of its police force.
Last month, a protection-from-abuse case against another Altoona police officer, Cpl. Craig Zahradnik, was continued after the officer's lawyer asked for 30 days to work out a settlement between Zahradnik and his ex-wife.
Zahradnik is under investigation by state police at Hollidaysburg for terroristic threats. Zahradnik was taken into custody Oct. 9 near his ex-wife's house after police found a knife and gloves on the front seat of his vehicle. He was placed under a temporary PFA for threatening harm to his ex-wife's male friend.
Obviously, neither the incident at the bar nor the one involving Zahradnik speak well for the Altoona force.
And they are terribly unfair to the conscientious police officers who do good work - surely the majority - and who are no doubt embarrassed by the alleged actions of their peers.
At the same time, police must be held to a higher standard than the average citizen, and these alleged cases present troubling credibility issues.
It's very difficult for a police force to uphold the law when its own members have trouble obeying it.