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.

deertracker

Maybe he tried to take her home but she was uncooperative. It is his business because he swore to protect and serve and uphold the law. If I call my employer and say I can't come in because I am drunk I would be FIRED and RIGHTLY so. She was asked to work for a reason. Once you agree to a shift it is yours just like you were scheduled. The on duty officer did the right thing.

asweetnessabove

She threw herself under the bus. This isn't the first time shed be driving drunk. She has/had a previous DUI. Do people make mistakes? Yes. But this was beyond a mistake. She made her own bed and now she has to sleep in it.

wiredmama222

She has a history of being combative with authority. Read the reports. She doesn't seem to take to well to being told what to do. She knows when she is in the wrong and still does as she pleases. Calling her won't do any good. Those people you stop BEFORE they get in a car. She was carrying a GUN while intoxicated....a no no. They had to have proof...that's why the trip to the hospital.

Nope, they did what was necessary. This time, DG, you are wrong and they are right.

rjk1915

I congratulate the Register for not sweeping this story under the rug. Some papers would.

Just Thinkin

Time to get rid of her, we dont need the cowboy attiude like we had awhile back, nip it in the bud, at least this Chief is willing to do the right thing, Thanks

Phil Packer

Was Tight Wadd really worth it?

ReallyGood

Abso-Freaking-Lutely!

he said she said

Hello
'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'. If she was that intoxicated that she passed out in the drive thru, I would be scared to think how she got home. I guess it is true that God watches over drunks and fools.

Perkins2060

I hope the little kid with the dog isn't involved. He's the best one out there.

Perkins2060

The pump? Really people? The pump? That's your first mistake.

fica

As bad as this is, and believe me it is, it could have been so much worse. She could have had an accident on the way home from the bar, undoubtedly the results would have been DUI. She could have driven to work and had an accident, again DUI woild have been the charge. She could have been in her patrol car and had an accident....DUI. Klamar was smart to have her blood tested, this way there is no doubt of her level of intoxication. She will probably lose her job, she deserves to, but at least she won't be going to jail for killing someone in an accident while drunk. So many bad decisions while drinking, she knows better than anyone the consequences. This is your wake up call Kate.

meowmix

I think it bothers me more that when they went to her house she came out in full uniform with her gun on but was still drunk. Where was she headed if she had already called off sick?

asweetnessabove

Gotta remember, she didn't call off sick... She called off drunk like an idiot. If you're going to get drunk and ditch work. At least call off sick, find a SAFE way home and stay in bed curing the brown bottle flu.

Westend Homeown

it said she only called off drunk for the overtime she signed up for.... she didn't call off for her regular shift thats where she was heading in full uniform unfortunately still drunk tho

heaven-leigh

Gee, maybe she saw them pull up and went out to speak to them.

Ellis dee

Legalize the kind bud

TuffNutts2011

She was one of the most active officers at perkins. Sad for them to loose her. Amazing how people will just throw an entire career away for a couple beers.

TuffNutts2011

Its a well known fact that Taco Bell instantly reverses the affects of alcohol. Long as she got the food down and took a stinker she would have been ready for duty in minutes.

deertracker

Or in the ER!

asweetnessabove

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

SandTownBry

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

wiredmama222

She could have done serious damage to someone out there. I don't think she cared who. No, the chief did it right.

Thanks to Taco Bell employees for turning her in. At least they know better.

DGMutley

Excerpt from The Journal of Law Enforcement, Alcohol Use Among Law Enforcement, by Elizabeth Willman:

"Alcohol abuse and dependency has been an ongoing problem amongst the law enforcement community.

Because drinking has been an acceptable part of the police culture and has been a way for officers to cope with the stressors of their work, issues with alcohol frequently go undetected. Repeated exposure to trauma, suicide, domestic violence, and mental health takes it toll on even the most highly resilient officer. Repeated exposure to these types of stressors often produces frustration, depression anger, and other emotions, which officers are taught to suppress. Alcohol, because it is legal and acceptable, is frequently used as a means to escape or blow off steam, in what is known to law enforcement personnel as “choir practice.” Choir practice becomes problematic when it moves beyond the average gathering. Repeated negative patterns of behavior can result in problems on the job (e.g., absenteeism, suspension, discipline, etc.) and at home (e.g., relationship issues, substance abuse, fighting, etc.).

The best way to protect officers from the tragedies of alcohol abuse is to educate them on the dangers. Prevention through education and the implementation of wellness programs help promote prevention, rather than intervention."

From this observer's view Chief Klamar has and is setting Officer Barker up for a fall--his, out of the way, personal involvement Thanksgiving morning early a.m., his step by step documentation with his Lieutenant at his side. He had no business hauling her into Firelands for a blood test. She wasn't working, she wasn't driving, she wasn't charged with anything, yet he has made her blood test results public????

So rather than helping her through this ordeal and trying to keep a good officer he chooses to throw her under the bus and on top of it he makes sure that it hits the press so we all can throw her under the bus too! Sorry about that but there will be no praise coming from this corner.

Westend Homeown

did you miss the part where she was in full uniform with gun strapped around her waist heading to her car and clearly unstable on her way to work?

safecracker2

Do you believe EVERYTHING you read in this paper???

luvblues2

So, maybe the rest didn't like her attitude and conspired in some way to get rid of her. Regardless, she CHOSE to do what she did. It's her butt and she shoulda had it covered. Either way, her time in Perkins PD is done.

Tru Grit

Fire her obviously she would rather get plastered before work then be a responsible adult and fire any other cop that helped her "if" any did. This chick is a joke.

KURTje

Look on the bright side. Maybe some sincere person wanting a job in L.E. will get their chance.

eightballcuet1

PPD might try to fire her, but the police union will step in, have her sent to rehab and keep her job.

luvblues2

With no respect from the community or her co-workers.

queenjhb

The police union should help cops that come forward with a problem, in this case she is in denial mode, therefore all involved should have her dismissed as an officer w/ full support of the union in letting her go. Direct her to rehab as the police station door hits her on her butt. Goodbye. Goodluck, be better.