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Public Safety Committee of Council July 2012 Minutes
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 3:12:44 PM - Monroe Ohio

City of Monroe
Public Safety Committee of Council
July 11, 2012

Recorded by Angela Wasson

The Public Safety Committee of Council met at 6:45 pm on July 11, 2012 in the Council Library
located at 233 South Main Street, Monroe, Ohio.
Present were: Bob Kelley, Vice Mayor; Steve Black, Council Member, Gregory C. Homer,
Chief of Police; Frank Robinson, Police Lieutenant; and Angela S. Wasson, Assistant to the City
Manager/Clerk of Council.
Mr. Black stated that this meeting is being held to discuss the use of force policy and the recent
tasing incident referred to in Case No. 12-1183.
Chief Homer noted that Case No. 12-1183 has been closed.
Mr. Kelley understood that the current policy reads if a firearm is used the officer is placed on
administrative duty until a formal investigation is completed. He pointed out that we have case
history that this has been done in the past.
Chief Homer advised that a taser is not considered a firearm and there is no policy where an
officer is placed on administrative suspension for using a taser. He further advised that no
officer, since he has been Chief, has been suspended for use of a taser. Mr. Kelley replied that it
is considered a firearm according to the Ohio Revised Code and he had an email from Mr. Brock
advising that former officer, Jeff Bowling, was placed on administrative leave. Chief Homer
informed the Committee that Mr. Bowling worked four or five days following the tasing incident
and was not placed on administrative for the tasing incident alone, there were other
circumstances that caused the administrative leave.
Mr. Kelley asked Chief Homer to talk about the use of force and taser policy he is working on.
Chief Homer explained that the current policies are terrible as they have not been kept up-to-date
or changed based on one incident. He continued to explain that one of the benefits of using
Lexipol to update the policies is when new court decisions come out the policies are updated.
Lexipol is the largest policy company in the United States.
Referring to placement on temporary administrative assignment when use of force results in
death or very serious injury of another, Mr. Black asked what constitutes a very serious injury
versus a serious injury. Chief Homer’s opinion is that a serious injury requires someone to go to
the hospital and very serious would require a stay in the hospital. Chief Homer referenced the
Ohio Revised Code that separates a simple assault and aggravated assault and would use the
same type of criteria in the criminal code. Mr. Black noted that it gives the Chief of Police
discretion for administrative leave and asked if an investigation would begin immediately
following a very serious injury or death. Chief Homer replied that an investigation would begin
immediately. Mr. Black asked if the purpose of an administrative leave is to give the officer
time to get their self together. Chief Homer stated that in the event of a death it is for the officer
to get any help needed and for us to make sure the actions taken did not place any liability on the City. A lot of police departments the chief’s discretion comes in because the officer may be
placed in a non-public position rather than administrative leave so they are available for
questioning. In any use of force investigation you attempt to remove the person from the ability
to contaminate the investigation. It could be just putting them on another beat, but you always
have the ability to put them on administrative leave. Most investigations are over very quickly.
You speak with the officer and/or a witness or other officer present. With the most recent tasing
incident it took longer because we were getting extremely conflicting witnesses and it took time
to gather the witnesses. He reviewed all of the investigating notes, listened to all the tapes,
watched the videos, and read the official reports.
Mr. Kelley pointed out that one of the witnesses stated she warned the officer the suspect had
mental deficiencies and you can see the suspect turn, but there is no sound on the cd. Chief
explained that the lights on the cruiser were not on and the camera activates when you turn the
lights on. The camera works, but the sound won’t start working. Mr. Kelley referred to another
officer in another part of town had sound while he was turning around in a driveway without his
lights on. As soon as he flips on the lights and siren, there is a little L and S down in the captions
at the bottom that shows what is going on. It also shows his speedometer and he is running over
100 mph to get from one end of the town to the other. The officer involved in the tasing incident
had no sound on the cd and he indicated he got on the PA speaker and hollered at the suspect to
stop. You see the suspect in the video walking up the sidewalk. This officer stated he turned on
the emergency lights and siren in an attempt to get the subject to stop. He then drove up
Rochester Hills Drive for approximately 50 yards before observing the subject stopped on the
sidewalk and face the officer’s direction. Mr. Kelley felt there should have been sound there.
Chief Homer agreed that if the lights are on there should be a sound, but there could have been a
glitch that he is not aware of. Mr. Kelley referred to a statement that a witness told the officer
the suspect had a mental deficiency and the officer guns the car around the corner and pulls up in
a way that would cut the suspect off. From the video it is obvious from the suspect’s reaction he
is thinking he is about to be run over with a car cutting him off like that. Chief Homer pointed
out that as soon as the officer gets on the loud speaker the suspect increases his pace. The
witness advised the suspect had problems, but that could simply mean the suspect was upset with
his mom.
Mr. Kelley felt it would be helpful if there was audio so they could hear the conversation that
actually took place. The problem is it happens off camera. If you have an officer who is having
a bad day, having problems with their spouse, mad at someone, or otherwise distracted by what
is going on and not thinking straight and then goes out and has a run in with someone and uses a
taser. Mr. Kelley was not saying that is what happened in this incident, but if you have an officer
that is having a bad day and then placed on administrative leave so you have time to see if there
is an issue. The statements say that the officer was told the suspect was handicapped. You can
see from the video people surrounding the officer were hollering at him, but you do not know
what they were hollering. You have to believe that if the officer is there by himself, in a place
that is probably not real friendly to officers to start with, and a suspect who you perceive is
running from you. Plus the circumstances put together this officer is probably feeling a little
threatened and takes the suspect down by tasing him. Mr. Kelley doesn’t want to get in to what
he did or why he did this. He wants to make sure we do everything we can to protect the health
and well being of everyone involved including the officer. He noted that we had a conflicting policy, but we could have put him in a desk job until the investigation was completed. Chief
Homer advised we could have, but in this situation we never felt that there was any intentional or
obvious wrong doing. The officer indicated that there were so many people yelling at him he
couldn’t distinguish a voice saying something and his concern was with the suspect in front of
him.
Mr. Kelley stated that the officer is trained to deal with this type of situation and needs to believe
that if Chief Homer has him on the street he has faith in him to be there. Mr. Kelley asked if the
Ohio Revised Code changed when they went to conceal and carry and tasers became a firearm.
Chief Homer advised that only applies to the public not law enforcement.
Chief Homer stated that what happened with the suspect was the best thing that could have
happened. He was being raised by no one. His brother was raising him and not doing well and
now the suspect is in a better shelter. He did agree with Mr. Kelley in that if it was all caught on
video and the witness actually said watch out he is mentally handicapped it would throw a
different element into this. However, Chief Homer had no reason not to believe the officer and
he questioned the officer quite a bit.
Mr. Kelley asked how we can fix this and a lot of other things wrong with the policies.
Chief Homer did not have an immediate answer for that, but there are people in the CAD system
and when the address shows it will tell you have, for example, a blind person there. The new
CAD system reflected in the budget will automatically light up giving specifics about something
special with the resident(s) at the address or if chemicals are kept in the house. It is just reaching
out to the public asking if they have someone in their house with special needs or a senior
citizen. We can add that to the new system and it will show up automatically. In the current
system the officer has to ask the dispatcher if there is anything special about that address.
Mr. Black suggested getting the word out to request this information. Chief Homer noted that
Officer Walton is asking these questions through the Neighborhood Watch Program.
Mr. Kelley felt that there should be a policy in place that if a certain situation takes place these
are the steps that are followed and we should always err on the side of caution. With the stress
that officers are under you never know what door you are walking up to and it has to take its toll
on the officers. While you are fixing the policies it is a good time to try to protect the officers
and the public.
Chief Homer agreed that the when and why of the polices should be reviewed as it is vague and
serious and death are the only times the policy recommends putting someone on administrative
suspension. Mr. Black suggested an annual procedure and policy review. Chief Homer advised
that isn’t needed as we are paying Lexipol to keep the policies and procedures current. You
also get your daily training bulletins and they can document that training.
Mr. Black asked if training sessions will be held on the policy once it is released. Chief Homer
replied that it will be handled at roll calls. It will be in an Adobe format that cannot be changed
or printed. Highlights will be pointed out by the supervisor. When updates come out everyone will be aware of it. Mr. Black asked if they will have a copy to sign if it is not going to be
printed out. Chief Homer advised they will sign for it and by contract I have to make it available
to the Unions 30 days prior to implementation.
Mr. Black expressed his pleasure with the new policy and would like to see this as a baseline as
we see the rest of our policies and procedures. Mr. Kelley agreed.
Chief Homer stated that we are spending money to save money as one lawsuit can hurt you. He
referred to a current policy that affected one of his officers that was rear ended. Even though the
officer was not at fault they still had to get a drug test. Mr. Kelley commented that there is the
one in 10,000 chance that someone will test positive for something and all it takes is one in
10,000 to say this incident could have been prevented if there were not under the influence.
Chief Homer brought up one of the problems with this is the officer continues to work following
the test as the results are not available immediately. Mr. Kelley noted that trucking companies
are the same way as it is 24 hours before the Department of Transportation has the results.
Chief Homer will check with Lexipol and see if another department has a more restrictive use of
force policy. Mr. Kelley requested that the information obtained be emailed to the Committee.
Chief Homer spoke with the Committee about a new CAD system in the approximate amount of
$200,000 his department will need. In 2014 there are new requirements that they must meet. He
is looking at a local company as opposed to the current company out of California. This new
system will also have the ability to be used by the Department of Fire. We will have the ability
to have LEADS in the cruisers and could go with electronic ticketing if we want. Mr. Black
requested an email link be sent to the Committee about this company.
The Public Works Committee meeting adjourned at 7:56 pm. 

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