The officer is on paid suspension pending a hearing on misconduct accusations.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Two weeks after returning to work from a three-day suspension for misconduct, Police Lt. John M. Rosensteel is back at home on another paid suspension.
The indefinite suspension took effect Wednesday after Rosensteel, 57, of Poland Township, was observed by Police Chief Jeffrey Patterson creating a press release regarding his previous suspension and pending hearing before a hearing officer.
Patterson said Rosensteel was told that he could not make the release with police department equipment and that all press releases had to be cleared through the chief's office. He said the officer then angrily left the building, taking a vacation day.
At that point, said Patterson, it was determined that Rosensteel's presence at the department would be disruptive pending the outcome of the upcoming hearing. He is on paid suspension until the hearing.
Rosensteel contends that the entire situation has nothing to do with his conduct as an officer, but is the result of a disagreement between him and the chief at a supervisor's meeting in February or March 2001. Rosensteel said he "vehemently and in the presence of other supervisors objected to specific references made by Patterson" that he deemed inappropriate.
Rosensteel would not elaborate on the alleged comments. He said he's been a target of the chief since that meeting.
"That is absurd," said Patterson. "John Rosensteel is not the easiest person to talk to, but no discussion between Lt. Rosensteel and I, heated or otherwise, has anything to do with this.
"This entire investigation is the result of outside complaints that I had nothing to do with," he said.
A primary complaint came from a 24-year-old Youngstown woman who said Rosensteel forced her into his truck in the lot of the Ground Round restaurant in the early morning of June 2 after Rosensteel, the woman and several others had drinks in the bar. An internal investigation found that Rosensteel and the woman ended up at the Fireplace Restaurant and Lounge, where they had more drinks after the bar closed for the night.
The woman called police, who pulled the truck over later in the evening.
A Mahoning County grand jury later decided not to indict Rosensteel. An internal investigation by township police, however, found Rosensteel to be responsible for three acts of misconduct.
Patterson said Rosensteel did break the law by drinking alcohol at a bar after hours, brought discredit upon himself and the department by breaking that law in front of people who knew him to be a police officer, and engaged in conduct over the past two years that makes him not qualified to be a supervisor in the department.
Patterson cites seven episodes over the past two years in which Rosensteel's conduct came into question.
A hearing on the three internal charges against Rosensteel will be held within 30 days.