Perkins officers investigated following Thanksgiving incident

Perkins police Officer Kate Barker may not be the only one facing discipline for a Thanksgiving-morning fiasco that began at a Hayes Avenue bar.
Emil Whitis
Nov 28, 2012

While she is the only officer on paid administrative leave, at least two others may ultimately be sucked into an internal investigation by police Chief Ken Klamar.

Under advice from township attorney John Coppeler, Klamar has refused to identify the other two officers involved.  

Township trustees met with Klamar late Tuesday in executive session to discuss the possibility of discipline against the officers.

Barker was off-duty at The Pump Bar and Grille on Hayes Avenue on Thanksgiving Eve, although she was scheduled to show up for an overtime shift at 3 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, police have said.  

Also at The Pump that night was an off-duty Perkins officer, who Klamar refused to identify.

That officer called an on-duty Perkins officer to the bar for unknown reasons. Klamar also refused to identify the on-duty officer.

The off-duty officer told the on-duty officer that Barker was inside the bar and she had been drinking, Klamar said. Her personal vehicle was also parked outside the bar.   

Sometime before 3 a.m., Barker called in to work and said she couldn't make it to her 3 a.m. shift because she was intoxicated. Her regular shift was scheduled to start at 7 a.m., police said.  

Klamar said he knows how Barker got from the bar to her Fox Road home in Huron Township, but he refused to provide any details on the matter, deferring to Coppeler's legal advice.

A Perkins police report from 2:11 a.m. Thanksgiving Day raises further questions.

An employee at Taco Bell on West Perkins Avenue called Perkins police and said a woman driver had passed out in a vehicle waiting in the line at the drive-through. The woman was driving a silver Toyota that matched the description of Barker's car, police said.  

Perkins police Lt. Vince Donald, Officer Tim Alexander and Sgt. Mark Kusser responded to the area but found nothing, according to Donald's incident report.

During the course of his internal investigation, Klamar checked for surveillance video at Taco Bell, but the restaurant didn’t have any video.

But Barker managed to get home somehow.     

When asked if any of his officers may have pulled over Barker's vehicle in the vicinity of West Perkins Avenue, Klamar refused to say.

When asked if any of his officers provided Barker a ride home Thanksgiving morning, Klamar also refused to say.

Klamar said that if one of his officers provided a ride to someone and the officer did not document it as such, it would be a violation of department policy.   

For now, it's simply a mystery how Barker made it home.

Later Thanksgiving morning — acting on a tip from one of his employees — Klamar intercepted Barker at her home, as she walked out in full uniform, including a handgun strapped to her belt.

He noticed she appeared "unsteady on her feet ... and her eyes were glassy and she appeared lethargic," an Erie County deputy's report said.

Klamar also smelled alcohol on Barker, so he took her to Firelands Regional Medical Center, where her blood-alcohol content registered at 0.139 percent. A second test put it at 0.127 percent, Erie County deputies said.  

Those test results came at least four hours after Barker had first called off work. The legal limit in Ohio is 0.08 percent.

While Klamar moves forward with his internal investigation, he also asked the Erie County Sheriff's Office to conduct a criminal investigation.

On Tuesday, deputies asked Huron city prosecutor Laura Alkire to consider charges against Barker, for allegedly possessing a weapon at her home while she was intoxicated.

Alkire told deputies she will not press charges because Perkins police had no jurisdiction in Huron Township, where Barker lives.

"There are outstanding jurisdictional and evidentiary issues that would affect the prosecution of this case," Alkire said.

Basically, if Perkins police had called Erie County deputies and asked them to  go to Barker's home Thanksgiving morning, the prosecutor's office could have pursued the case, Alkire told deputies.   

When asked to provide additional information in the case, Coppeler said he doesn't know what the facts are just yet.

"Why don't you wait until all the facts are assembled to discuss this," Coppeler said. "There's no reason to try to influence decisions at this point."

Barker's personnel file shows that in the past 14 months, she missed four training sessions or off-duty details. She was hired in 2005 as a Perkins dispatcher, and in 2006 she became a reserve officer, followed by a 2009 promotion to full-time officer.

A performance review in 2010 indicated "there have been times in the past 11 months where Officer Barker has been combative with supervisors."

Comments

Darwin's choice

" To Protect and Serve " More of the finest.......!

Phil Packer

Do we know what she ordered?

OnlyfoolsAssume

Its people like this that give LE a bad name...you'd think you would be smarter than this...

luvblues2

It's assumption when one uses the word "you" to describe another in a sentence.

iamrevolutionary

Wow.. it must have taken quite a few people to try and cover this up, to no avail.... Bet a lot of officers end up on "PAL"... smh

OMG.LOL.WT_

The Blue Line.

2008HD

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Unassumer

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

kURTje

This will get interesting. Like one guy I know who is L.E. stated something like "Most of who I work with are ***********."

lugnut2511

LOL, sure this sounds something like the Sandusky police department now....

grinenbareit

I can't get past the point that she actually called off work, for a shift she picked up, and admitted she couldn't come in because she was drunk. Really? That's too funny! The rest is just gravy...

DGMutley

Nothing like ratting out your buddy.

Ellis dee

The pump sucks

luvblues2

Sure, swept under the rug but not dismissed. Her career in LE is basically fried even if she's found innocent. One can't enforce the law and get caught breaking it. Back to school.

donutshopguy

Such outstanding law enforcement officers. Drunk, lying, cheating and stealing are all priorities to becoming a police officer in Erie County. Well, they at least hit 50% of the necessary requirements.

Perkins Township voters rejected an additional levy for the police department. Smart thinking taxpayers.

2008HD

humm last 1 from the past regime? oops forgot 4 still remain, JM MK, VD & KH

DGMutley

The way this article is written sounds like there were plenty of opportunities to prevent Ms. Barker from breaking the law but the choice was to throw her under the bus.

luvblues2

It's called, CYOA. Now that it's made it to the Register, she's toast around here.

DGMutley

Agree. CYA

Sit n Spin

Ms. Barker is a big girl and can make her own decisions, not very well obviously. I'm sure she was held down, alcohol was poured down her throat & forced to drive to Taco Bell for a grilled stuffed burrito.....she threw herself under the bus ! Get a clue Mutley !

browneyes

She messed up bad.

entitled to my ...

DG- I usually agree with you, but no one "threw her under the bus." She is a grown woman who made the CHOICE to get drunk in a bar, knowing she had to report to work at 3a.m. She is lucky she made it home alive. Whoever turned her in to Chief Klamar should be commended for doing what was right. The days of Police Officer's "covering" for each other is long gone. This story could have had a tragic ending. But for the Grace of God she didn't kill some innocent family while driving drunk!
Personally, I pray she is given the chance to enter into an alcohol treatment program and NOT lose her job. But, no matter how this all plays out, SHE did this to herself!

Good 2 B Me

"You get what you put in...and people get what they deserve" ~ Kid Rock

The New World Czar

Two words sum this one up: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

wiredmama222

She should never have agreed to work the overtime knowing she had been drinking. I comment Klamar for going out to stop her from making an even BIGGER mistake. It sounds as if others are involved as well.

What is the matter with the guys in blue who thinks its ok to tip a few and then report for duty? You cannot expect to drink and drive and then pick up people on the road for DUI' when you, yourself are too drunk to drive. What if people need your help and you are too intoxicated to do your job?

No, the chief did the right thing, and doing so in executive session is the right way to handle this. You don't air the dirty laundry in public.

Good for him. He is handling this the proper way. Good job, Klamar. Good job. You have a lot of officers in your department who are willing to do the right thing, not the wrong. So to take it up with the trustees in ES is JUST what you do. And good for the trustees, who know what the law says.

No fools on that board.

Mum-of-One

Not only did she get drunk in a bar knowing she had to report for work later she also knew she would have to drive home. I feel a whole lot safer in Perkins Township knowing that a drunk officer carrying a gun may be driving drunk on the roads at holiday time.

Whiskey Tango F...

i guess there are some other overlooked issues to the story. They found her @ 1.27, but what is the legal limit to do her job? Seems to me she was 127% over the lmit! Enforcing laws in other juristictions is a little scary, but not knowing the laws that they inforce is worse! Sad that all of this is going to ruin a career, but it seems this young lady doesn't feel that the laws apply to her.

Darkhorse

At least it is not Sandusky in the papers this time. It seems all police departments have their own problems with officers, some more so then others. Why just police officers? What is the problem and how can the entities address the problem before it gets out of hand? The end result is losing a job. Is it worth it? The police department needs to do routine random drug and alcohol testing on the cops.

DGMutley

Nope, I think she got thrown under the bus.

If our fellow officer at the bar had the fortitude to call the PPD to report her being intoxicated it would seem to me that he should have enough fortitude to take her home. Why was this his business?

Why did Chief Klamar make the trip to her house and with one of this Lieutenants? Why not just a phone call? Why the trip to Firelands Hospital for an alcohol test? If you can smell alcohol then why not just give her the day off?

Dont Worry Be Happy

You are so wrong DGM.

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