The Canal Winchester Times

Madison Township

Police chief resigns, captain on paid leave

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Madison Township Police Chief Greg Ryan resigned June 19 in what was apparently the latest action arising from a nearly six-month internal investigation into complaints made by two police officers.

Madison Township trustees accepted Ryan's resignation at their meeting June 19, the same day it was submitted. Sgt. Michael Ratliff was named interim chief.

It was also revealed at the meeting that Capt. James Glasure was placed on paid administrative leave, although township officials would not say specifically why, other than confirming that he is part of a continuing investigation. That leave started June 20.

Madison Township Fire Marshal Rick Stelzer, who was appointed by trustees to conduct the investigation, deferred all questions to township Administrator Susan Brobst.

Brobst said she does not know what the ongoing investigation involves or whether it is disciplinary or criminal in nature.

"At this point, because this is ongoing, we haven't talked about the recommendations from the investigation report yet, but I would expect we're going to address them all," Brobst said.

She said she is compiling information from other central Ohio municipalities in regard to completing a search for a police chief, including the possibility of using a search firm.

Madison Township officials said they hope to complete the hiring process for a new chief in the next three or four months.

Attempts to contact Ryan and Glasure through the city and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 9 have been unsuccessful.

The department has been under investigation since last October, after officers Brian Schwortzer and Keith Mallory complained to trustees about several issues, including verbal abuse, how a vacation request from Schwortzer was handled and -- on Mallory's part -- being expected to perform duties outside of regular shifts for which he was not paid.

The written report Stelzer submitted to township officials April 26 was based on interviews he conducted with seven members of the police department: Schwortzer, Mallory, Ratliff, Glasure, Sgt. Ken Braden, Sgt. Don Skinner and officer Tim Johnson.

There is nothing in the report to indicate Stelzer interviewed Ryan.

Township officials said last week that between April 26 and June 19, they reviewed the findings and worked with legal counsel Michael Short to approve the paid administrative leave for Glasure and the promotion of Ratliff to interim chief.

Township Attorney Larry James does not handle any police-related issues for the township because he is also general counsel for the National Fraternal Order of Police.

One of the problems Stelzer identified in his report is the "potential or probable abuse of power/position by upper management."

He noted that Schwortzer and Mallory both alluded to "anger-control problems" on the part of Ryan and Glasure.

"During the investigation, police officers and sergeants both indicated that the department is routinely operated on a daily basis through fear, threats, intimidation and retaliation to certain individuals, but not all (whether direct or indirect), indicating disparate treatment and a lack of consistency, fairness and equal treatment of its employees by upper management," Stelzer wrote.

The report went on to say that "management does not agree with these allegations, indicating that they do not believe that there is any disparate treatment, a lack of consistency, a lack of fairness ... Upper management indicated that the 'faults' or 'problems' within the department rest more or less on the shoulders of the employees."

Stelzer recommended that an independent, third-party analysis be conducted of the entire Madison Township Police Department.

He also recommended that more personnel management and training be provided and required for upper management personnel, including the police chief and Glasure; that Ryan and Glasure be provided an opportunity for anger-management counseling and that an opportunity for counseling on conflict resolution be provided to everyone in the department.

Other problems Stelzer identified in his report included:

* The police department's policies and procedures manual: Stelzer said many sections of the manual have not been routinely reviewed or revised for more than 10 years. He recommended that township trustees and Brobst send the manual to the township attorney for review so it can be updated to be sure it meets current law. The manual should then be reviewed regularly on a semi-annual or annual basis.

* The use of a handwritten logbook to document approved leave: Stelzer found that no written policy exists concerning the use of the logbook, which he called "an extremely antiquated system" that "allows for the potential of biased implementation."

In addition to developing a written policy for the logbook, he recommended that it and other daily departmental functions be computerized so scheduling, leave, vehicle and equipment status and other information "is readily accessible and maintainable on a department-wide basis."

* Computer access/departmental communication issues: Again, Stelzer recommended that daily departmental functions be computerized.

Although some computerization exists now, Stelzer said there is no way for police officers, sergeants and management to easily check or edit scheduling for assignments, special duty, approval or denial of requested leave, training, overtime or sick leave "except on their particular shift."

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