Pomeroy officer files appeal of ‘permanent suspension’

By Sarah Hawley - shawley@civitasmedia.com

POMEROY — A now-former Pomeroy Police Officer has filed an appeal in Meigs County Common Pleas Court with regard to a permanent suspension issued to him last month.

According to court documents, Bradley G. Larsen, Lasley Street, Pomeroy, was served with a notice of “permanent suspension” by Chief of Police Mark Proffitt on Aug. 14, 2016.

In a letter dated Aug. 15, 2016, Mayor Bryan Shank upheld the suspension of Larsen, resulting in his removal as an officer with the department. The Aug. 15 letter was addressed to Proffitt and stated that Larsen was verbally advised that he could appeal his suspension to village council at its Sept. 6 meeting.

Proffitt told the Sentinel that this is not the first time Larsen has been disciplined since becoming employed with the department in December 2015.

In a “notice of permanent suspension” issued to Larsen on Aug. 14, by Proffitt, which was provided to the Sentinel, Proffitt lists six policies and/or procedures alleged to have been violated by Larsen. Those policies include obedience to orders, respect, conduct on and off duty, courtesies, relations with other officers and with other officials and compliance with law.

Proffitt alleged in a conversation with the Sentinel on Tuesday that Larsen was allegedly intoxicated while on the parking lot and made a false call of a fight while off duty, but while employed with the department. He is also alleged to have made offensive posts to a social media account, said Proffitt.

According to the documents provided by Proffitt, Larsen was issued a permanent suspension in July, but was later placed back on duty. Larsen was also issued a five-day suspension in early July for social media posts. In May, a written statement from then Sgt. Quine detailed alleged disobeying of orders by Larsen. At the time there was a “verbal communication of violations” with no further action required.

The Sept. 15 filing by Larsen’s attorney Daniel Klos, of Columbus, stems from the decision of council to uphold the permanent suspension of Larsen at its Sept. 6 meeting.

The “notice of appeal of village council decision to remove appellant (Larsen) from is position as police officer with the village” details nine questions of law and fact raised by Larsen regarding his removal as an officer.

Some of the issues raised by Klos are, whether Ohio Revised Code allows for the chief of police to “permanently suspend” an employee or officer; if the notice from Proffitt created a removal notice; is a “permanent suspension” the same as removal by common definition; and if the Chief of Police has the authority to initiate a removal by calling it a “permanent suspension.”

Regarding the letter from Shank, Klos questions if the judgment contains any statement of fact of misconduct; the timing of the letter’s delivery being made the night of the appeal to council; and if the notice was delivered within the five-day period required.

By Sarah Hawley