Opinion: Keeping it secret in Perkins Twp.

Matt Westerhold
Dec 6, 2012

If you had passed out while in your car waiting in the drive-through line at the Taco Bell, chances are local police would have tracked you down and filed a police report regarding their interaction with you. 

But two weeks after an alleged incident involving a high-profile Perkins Township employee -- a police officer -- there still is no report detailing what happened in the wee hours overnight on  Thanksgiving.
 
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Click here to take the poll: Should the police department release the report?
 
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Police chief Ken Klamar promised the reports would be released on Thursday, but he went back on his word citing the advice of the township's part-time law director. Klamar suggested the reports were being withheld in compliance with the Ohio Revised Code, but he could not remember what portion of the law was being used to block public access to the facts.
 
Klamar also suggested the Fraternal Order of Police union has some standing in deciding whether a public record is a public record. 
 
He also said the reporter should contact the law director, John Coppeler, for additional information. The reporter did that but Coppeler was not picking up his phone after a marathon closed-door meeting with trustees on Thursday. The public was barred from the meeting and it has been barred for two weeks now from knowing what happened. It's a secret. 
  
"I can only say that I feel John Coppeler is doing his normal good job for Perkins Township," trustee Mike Printy wrote in an email in response to an editorial in the Register on Monday. 
 
 

Comments

Julie R.

"Shooting the messenger instead of focusing on the message."

That was excellent.

Imataloss

Wow Register, instead of making rash decisions when it comes to personnel, Perkins Twp. trustees, their police chief, and their attorney are reviewing facts, considering the law and taking time to make a decision PROBABLY SO THEY DON'T GET SUED!!!! Oh wait, if they made a rash decision and GOT SUED, you would sell more papers. The stirring of the pot is unappreciated by most of the Township residents I have spoken to about this issue.

Dont Worry Be Happy

Well said:-)

wiredmama222

At least they are following executive session laws as prescribed. Good for them. They know the law and are following it.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for the comment Imataloss. You're missing the point, however. The public records law is very clear. All attorney Coppeler or chief Klamar have to do is cite the section of the Ohio Revised Code they are using to deny public access to the public's information. That's required by law and relatively simple to do if there is a legitimate exemption. It seems to me the people we pay to enforce the rules should be required to abide by the rules. It's wrong for Klamar, the custodian of the records, to withhold records by claiming an exemption in the ORC without citing the exemption to which he is referring. It's wrong for him to refer questions to the law director, who refuses to return phone calls or comment on his decision to withhold records. He too should simply provide the exemption in the ORC that justifies his decision. That's not too much to ask.

Dont Worry Be Happy

Call Kate and ask her what's going on she was the one who started this whole thing. Call the FOP union and ask them. I bet you get nothing from them as well. If there is an investagation then let it run its course. Who cares if you didn't get some reverse code both sides are making their case we will all know soon.

wiredmama222

Executive session under the sunshine law, Mr Westerhold. It's very clear under the sunshine law. Executive session under that law forbids them to discuss or give you anything that deals with dealings of administrative and disposition of employee firings or repercussions of an employee. They do not have to give you a thing since they do not keep record of their executive sessions nor recordings.

You should read the new sunshine law is also called the yellow book. you should read that, I have. Interesting reading and very specific on its laws. Especially boards.

luvblues2

:)...Kate is gonna skate.

Kimo

You really should consider using another picture Matt.

I spend way too much time trying to figure out if that's a smile or a smirk.......

deertracker

How you spend your time is ENTIRELY on you!

G George I du kno

I was just reading another article where the Register removed comments based on "Persumption of Guilt". Does this mean they are going to remove their own articles about Kate and the cover up on this same basis? They have based their entire article on persumptions. Mr. Westerhold could you please explain why you can make assumptions but the readers can't?

EdgeOfTheH20

(PRE- » It's presumption)

EdgeOfTheH20

(PRE- » It's presumption)

asweetnessabove

Give him a break. Maybe his fingers were going faster than his brain at the moment. Happens to me a lot, you can't possibly tell me it doesn't happen to you?

safecracker2

I'm guessing they go into a closed door meeting because it's a personnel issue that may involve serious consequences. I'm sure they are getting all the facts and then deciding how to proceed. This isn't a fast food worker,
( no disrespect to any of them. At least they are working. ) but an officer. There are attorneys on both sides that have procedures to follow. Let them do their jobs.

wiredmama222

sunshine laws forbid comments while in executive session and Matt knows that.

safecracker2

Yes mama, you are totally correct! And Matty is salty because discipline is carried out in executive session, behind closed doors, where the Sunshine Law takes effect. So, he has no right to this information as of yet. Instead, he and Emil would rather write "cover-up" and conspiracy articles to get everyone in an uproar crying foul. He'll get his information. When THEY'RE ready. Good grief!

Kilroy

The chief knew she was drunk, he should have just let her begin her drive to work then pulled her over, just like they do everyone else.

If you guys hate Matt W. and the SR so much, why do you keep reading it and making comments?

Dont Worry Be Happy

I don't buy just read what's free:-)

Julie R.

Sounds to me like Klamar citing the O.R.C. but not providing the number of the O.R.C. that proves he can legally deny the media access to public records can only mean one thing --- it doesn't exist. The fact that the law director is also stonewalling the SR should also be proof that it doesn't exist.

mrjsiah

Its just a case of perkins trying to protect its own clear and simple . Im sure we will never know the truth other than what we know she was drunk, fell asleep at a taco bell window, tried to go to work still drunk.

wiredmama222

no, they are in executive session as prescribed by law. They aren't covering up anything. This is how the law works.

wiredmama222

Oh, I see, you can just delete a who comment when you don't like what I say....how nice of you. These guys are in executive session and CANNOT tell you what what they are talking about and you know it, MATT.

Don't try to get what you cannot have under the sunshine law. They just plain cannot give you the info when it comes to disciplining employees until the final results are in no matter how often you call them

No delete me again. Shame on you, Matt. Shame on you. Just argue with me on here and let it run.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for the comment Wiredmama, but your depth of understanding regarding the issue and the public records law is very limited. The Register has requested the public documents that already exist. We are not asking for information about what might have or might not have occurred in the closed-door trustee meeting.

wiredmama222

Mr Westerhold, you may think it is limited, but not where THIS is concerned. I am VERY WELL VERSED IN DOCUMENTS USED IN EXECUTIVE SESSION, which is something your "crew of people", including Sharon Johnson, at SR may not be despite their expertise in getting documents elsewhere. This is something very different. They may need to bone up on it.

If those documents are being used in an executive session, they do NOT have to turn them over to you until they are finished with them. Did you know that? Those records may be being used at this time by the people in the executive session as part of the disciplinary actions or for decisions being made by those present.

Therefore, if they are being used in ES, they do not need to be turned over to you, even at your request. Therefore, your request is invalid at this point. Perhaps it would be good for you to re read and try to understand better the sunshine laws and the ORC codes.

ES trump any requests for public documents when they are part of the executive sessions, when they are part of the necessary documentation OF that executive session. No exceptions are made during the executive session meeting even for the press.

When a "public document" is paramount to decision making in any disciplinary action being made by any board in an executive session, it becomes PART of that executive session and will be released when the executive session is over and not before.

Therefore you request for that document will not be made available until such time as the executive session has concluded.

I am surprised that you did not know that.

Sorry to disappoint you. I am very well versed in the sunshine laws of the State of Ohio. Especially on Executive Sessions and documentation of same. Sorry to disappoint you and your reporters. But that is the law.

No board, will release them while in ES. None whatsoever. That is the law of Executive Session and that is why you always have trouble getting anything from any ES you try to get something from. Sorry

safecracker2

Matt: 0 - Mama: 1. Sorry Matt, consider yourself "schooled".

asweetnessabove

I friggin' love reading your comments wired. I seriously don't remember ever not agreeing with you. Not to mention, you know your stuff, do your research, and give Westerhold a run for his money. :) he should just give up, he is only making himself and his staff look bad by not knowing what they should know!

rickross2

It seems to me that the people upset about this are Sanduskians who want soooo bad for something negative to go down in Perkins. Dont be jealous because we live on the good side of 8 Mile!

rickross2

rickross2 makes a valid point here. Thanks for the comment good sir :-)

wiredmama222

I will have to second that. They are doing it right.

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