Police: Burns broke ethics code

SANDUSKY Internal investigation reports into the off-duty conduct of former Sandusky police Lt. Melv
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

Internal investigation reports into the off-duty conduct of former Sandusky police Lt. Melvin D. Burns Jr. reveal his actions violated Sandusky Police Department rules and regulations.

More so, Burns was not cooperative with the investigation, leaving his interview before it was concluded and refusing to directly answer a question posed by an internal investigator.

Burns, 45, was fired Tuesday. He was a 19-year Sandusky police veteran. He was most recently promoted to lieutenant in June and commanded the night shift patrol, supervising more than a dozen officers.

Questions about his off-duty conduct arose after he was arrested at Put-in-Bay and charged with persistent disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing when he refused to leave a bar there, according to the police report.

Interim City Manager Don Miears ordered Burns' termination after reviewing a report by Sandusky police Chief Kim Nuesse, in which she recommended the same action.

"Both internal investigations were conducted by other police agencies to ensure an adequate, fair an objective investigation," Nuesse wrote in her report to Miears.

In the report Nuesse concluded Burns violated several portions of the department's rules and regulations, those being violating the code of ethics, misconduct, misuse of an official position, failure to report an incident and insubordination.

According to an external investigation by Clyde police into the Put-in-Bay arrest, Burns was found to be in violation of the code of conduct.

"His actions reflect poor judgment and decision making not in keeping with the expectation of a police officer much less a ranking supervisor," Nuesse wrote in the report.

In addition, the Ottawa County Sheriff's office conducted an investigation into another off-duty conduct incident regarding Burns.

His 25-year-old son-in-law reported Burns pushed him May 20 when he tried to pick up his daughter. No charges were filed in that incident.

The sheriff's office found Burns in violation of department policy for having full knowledge of the incident, but not reporting it to his supervisor.

In the Sandusky County Sheriff's report Burns tells a deputy he did push his son-in-law. But during an interview with an Ottawa County investigator, Burns denied the physical contact took place.

Burns had a pre-disciplinary hearing Aug. 31 at the city building at which he stated the "Put-in-Bay police reports were not accurate as written," according to the report. He further denied telling Put-in-Bay police he was a lieutenant, instead saying his family identified him as such.

In the Put-in-Bay arrest report Burns was noted as saying "What are you gonna do about it? I am a lieutenant. You're a nobody sergeant," to a Put-in-Bay police officer while being arrested.

In addition, Burns said at the interview, "he did not believe he violated any department ethics" and that "Put-in-Bay officers antagonized him when he asked for an explanation from them regarding the situation."

"He displays a real evidence of lack of remorse," Nuesse wrote to Miears. "His actions and continued denial have placed him in a position where the public cannot trust him."