Brimfield Township News Busts My New Year’s Resolution

One of my 2015 New Year’s resolutions was to be a little less judgmental. People make mistakes after all, so why rush to point out human frailties I encounter.

It lasted for 21 days. But in my defense, it’s tough to read this story and not feel a little righteous indignation. The story concerns David Oliver, the former Chief of the Brimfield Township (Ohio) Police Department. He is the former chief primarily due to a junior officer’s allegations that paint Oliver as a bully, who happens to be unbelievably crude and sexist. A true trifecta of creepiness. He was initially suspended for two weeks following an investigation into “gender discrimination issues related to an employee of the department. ” Oliver has since opted to “retire.”

But Oliver’s transgressions are not even what I’m most upset about. The township hired an independent attorney to conduct the investigation to the tune of $8000. I suspect the attorney charged an hourly rate. So, let’s assume it was $200 per hour. If so, the lawyer spent 40 hours on the case. And he didn’t produce a written report. He relayed his findings orally in a closed door with the Township Trustees. Why no written report? To avoid the Ohio Public Records Act. No record means no need to let the public in on the Chief’s shenanigans. 

So a police chief, whose salary is paid for with tax payer dollars allegedly engaged in a sustained pattern of grossly (emphasis on gross) inappropriate conduct toward a junior officer, resulting in a suspension and then a “retirement” and those tax payers have no way of knowing what happened exactly, whether the allegations are credible, or the extent to which other officers were complicit. This, despite the Ohio Public Records Act, which is supposed to guarantee government transparency. 

I am willing to bet the Brimfield Trustees are big advocates of “traditional values” and “the rule of law.” Too bad they don’t respect the laws they deem inconvenient.  Oops. There I go being all judgmental.