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.
 
*
 
Click here to take the poll: Should the police department release the report?
 
*
 
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.

I know where the SR is coming from when they get stonewalled on a daily basis by attorneys and other public officials. That seems to be the norm in Erie County --- even the courts are good at pulling that crap off. Have we forgotten the most recent case where the Erie County Common Pleas Court dismissed the former Vermilion mayor's lawsuit pertaining to a law firm withholding public records --- the case that she ended up winning when she took it all the way to the Supreme Court?

Julie R.

All the SR asked for was for the attorney and the chief to cite the section of the O.R.C. that they used to deny the information. So why don't they just provide it? Going on the assumption that there really is one, that doesn't sound like too difficult of a task to me.

SRnewsless

Double post

SRnewsless

Just like when you were so mad about not getting the dash cam from Andy dunns murder.

JohnDorian12

LOL, Wanna little cheese with that Wine Matt??? LOL!!!!! Just because the City of Sandusky officials kiss your backside by allowing you to crucify people just because they are a public servant doing a job you could NEVER do, doesnt mean he is being shady, be patient Matt Im SURE you will have plenty of opportunity to destroy Ofc. Barker. I applaud Chief Klamar for showing some restraint! LOL Youre such a joke Matt!!

Ithink

Guess today's front-page article may make you want to eat some of that cheese, JohnDorian12. Klamar may not be shady, but something about this story stinks....like cheese......

sanduskysteve

John - the only person destroying Ofc. Barker, is Ofc. Barker. She violated several laws and should have been arrested - those are facts which are undisputed - so there isn't anything to argue about in those particular incidents. Those are the things that will destroy the officer - Matt had nothing to do with this situation, with her actions, nor did MATT make her do the things she did. I think the big issue in this is not what to do with Ofc. Barker, but more so, what to do about any assistance she received from other officers. Those are the things which are not really known or facts available yet. Barker has cooked her own goose - anyone that may have helped her may have other issues to deal with. It just seems to me that everytime a cop does something stupid (no lack of that activity in the past year) and the SR reports on it, Matt has to take heat from you guys claiming HE is the instigator and should be to blame. When people do something stupid or wrong or illegal - it isn't the paper or an outsider that makes them do it - they do it on thier own. I have repeatedly said that SR wasn't making SPD look bad - SPD was making SPD look bad and Matt was just letting everyone know about it. That's actually his job..... if he didn't report on it - then you all would be saying he is helping the police cover things up. A guy can't win in a situation where he is responsible to report things to the public. And I'm sure he is aware of his unique position which is why some of you are still posting on this site.

Julie R.

Best comment: sanduskysteve

Julie R.

The big problem I see here when it comes to Chief Klamar keeping everything a secret is --- he's acting on the advice of an attorney. That's the worst thing he could do. When it comes to Erie County, attorneys (not to mention the attorneys in the black robes) are the cause of 99% of the train wrecks!

Diane Schaefer

ORC 149.43(A)(1)(h) addresses the confidentiality of 'ongoing Law Enforcement investigations'.

ORC 121.22(G)(1) addresses one of the reasons for holding an executive session as being for "... discipline, dismissal, or investigation of charges...."

To me, while not an attorney, but someone who is trained in the Ohio Public Records Act, I believe Chief Klamar is correct in withholding the investigation report until this truly becomes public. Unfortunately perhaps he should have said 'No comment' when first asked about it and explained that it was an ongoing investigation.

Officer Barker is represented by the FOP. Their contract spells out the steps to be taken for disciplinary action. I do not have a copy of the current contract and cannot address how it might apply.

The Trustees gave proper notification of the Special Meeting held last Thursday for the purpose of the pre-displinary hearing. Presuming that they followed the proper method of going into Executive Session, ORC 121.22(G)(1), this also is exempt for any public records request since executive sessions, by their nature are exempt.

(I might add that this is something that they did not do earlier this year when they terminated the Highway Foreman. While they may have notified the SR of the Special Meeting, they failed to notify ALL INTERESTED PARTIES of the Special Meeting which they are required to do. So they are trying to do it correctly.)

Now IF the request from the SR (and is Andy Ouriel no longer there?) was in writing as requests from journalists are required to be, then the Township should have responded IN WRITING why the records were not available as public records citing the above sections of the ORC.

Diane Schaefer

By the way I am certain there is a better picture of Klamar, or did the reporter just snap this when the Chief wasn't ready.

Darwin's choice

But, But, Matt's from the press, and he's entitled............

Kimo

I served for 12 years in government; I never went against the advice of our solicitor.

That's what you pay him for. How he handles reporters is his decision.

SandTownBry

SRnewsless..Please do not bring up andrew dunn as an example..The reason the dash cam video was never gave to the News Paper is becuse are family didnt want that an asked that the Sandusky Police respect are wishes and not release the Video..thats why Matt never got it..And Andrew worked as A Sandusky officer..He never in a million years whould have worked for Perkins.but on that note thanks.

SRnewsless

My point was that Matt kept insisting on getting access to it. I agree with you and completely respect the family's wishes.

luvblues2

I really cannot understand how anyone can have such opinionated comments and type trash. Help me out here, STB. What's up with you and the English language?

SandTownBry

if u dont like how i type..or what i write then u take the mouse that comes with the computer and u go to the right on the screen and down in the corner theres an arrow that points DOWN! meaning MOVE ON TO THE NEXT IF U DONT LIKE WHAT I SAY OR MY SPELLING OR ANYTHING FOR THAT MATTER.i honestly dont give 2 S**ts .Andrew is my family i will say what i want how i want when it comes to that so once again hit the arrow in the lower right hand corner and move on then..thanks

luvblues2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lis...

There are many tools to help one brush up on the skills of English.

Free online spell checkers here:
https://www.google.com/search?q=...

PS, my mouse did not come with my computer. It's wireless and I paid a few extra more for it. Freedom from wires.

Jack518

As an occasional commenter, but more avid reader, I side with those of you questioning why the officer got a ride home via a Perkin's police officer. The rest of us would be arrested if we sat behind the wheel with the engine running. Now, I do not know if her car was running, but she should have been immediately suspended. If I am wrong in my conclusions, then I apologize to one and all.

As another subject, does anyone KNOW why "wiredmama" has not been on the blogs recently? She has said she has medical issues. I certainly hope it is not the cause of her absence. I enjoy her comments, some I agree with, other times I do not. What I have read recently, I did not read any of her postings that would violate the "rules" of posting on the blogs. So, if wiredmama or anyone knows why she no longer posts, please let me know. Thank you.

Centauri

@ Jack, Wiredmama has been banned.

I too didn't see where any of her postings violated the posting guidelines.

luvblues2

I also have never seen a post that would bring banning upon wiredmama. WTF is up with that?!

asweetnessabove

Wired, banned??? Looks like Westerhold got shown up in his job and didn't like it!

Darwin's choice

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

SRnewsless

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

Pages