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Officer fails to follow department policy

Jessica Cuffman • Oct 9, 2013 at 9:30 AM

A Huron County deputy landed himself in trouble for failing to cite a fire chief’s wife after she caused a car crash.

Sgt. Steve Shupp, a 13-year deputy, recently received a written reprimand because he failed to follow department policy, Huron County Chief Deputy Ted Patrick said.

Shupp responded to a two-vehicle crash Sept. 20 on Chenango Road in New London Township, where Valerie Chapin pulled her vehicle out of a driveway and into the path of an oncoming vehicle, Patrick said.

Shupp, who is also a New London volunteer firefighter, chose not to cite Chapin, the wife of New London fire Chief John Chapin. Patrick was reviewing incident reports when he discovered the issue.

“I asked him, ‘Did you not cite her because that’s your fire chief’s wife?” Patrick said.

Shupp said he didn’t cite her because he thought he had discretion in the matter, Patrick said.

The department’s policy clearly states drivers must be cited when they’re at fault in a crash. Discretion in traffic violations applies to minor speeding infractions and such. “This clearly was not,” Patrick said.

Chapin will be cited for causing the crash — likely an improper backing citation, Patrick said.

“He was given clear instructions to do that,” Patrick said.

A written reprimand will be placed in Shupp’s personnel file, documenting the incident as a violation of failure to observe rules, policies or procedures. Shupp will also undergo re-training on the rules, Patrick said.

Shupp also received a written reprimand in June 2012, after asking a dispatcher to use the sheriff’s office computer to run a search that was not related to work, Patrick said.

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