Patrolman suspended for damaging screen
It cost about $2,000 to replace the computer screen.
By PATRICIA MEADE
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Patrolman Bill Ward, who landed a disabling punch to his onboard computer screen, has agreed to a 15-day unpaid suspension.
Ward, 29, is a four-year veteran of the department. The days off, from Tuesday through Aug. 31, mean a loss of roughly $2,250.
During the suspension, the officer cannot work any side jobs in a law enforcement capacity and must turn in his gun.
Ward agreed to the suspension in lieu of participating in a predetermination hearing. By doing so, he gave up all rights to appeal the suspension through the grievance and arbitration process.
The officer could not be reached Friday. Patrolman Kevin Bokesch, Youngstown Police Association president, said he wasn't in a position to comment because Ward bypassed the union.
Ward violated three Youngstown Police Department general orders that govern conduct, reports and equipment, Lt. Robin Lees, YPD spokesman, said Friday.
Lees said it cost about $2,000 to replace the computer screen of the mobile data terminal.
Ward's actual suspension is 30 days, but 15 days are being held in abeyance while he cooperates with Employee Assistance Program counselors. If he fails to cooperate, the additional suspension days will be imposed.
Lees said that on June 18, Ward punched the computer in his cruiser after becoming frustrated with it while entering or retrieving data. "We all suffer frustrations with inanimate objects," Lees said.
The severity of the suspension is based on the degree of damage to the equipment and Ward's first report of how it happened, Lees said.
"His first report was not accurate. He indicated it was an accident," Lees said. "An investigation by the Internal Affairs Division determined that [the punch] was intentional."
Lees said Ward initially reported that he lost his balance getting into the car and fell into the computer with a water bottle.
The city put up a match of $115,103 to receive a $345,311 Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services grant and purchased 29 in-cruiser computers late last year. The technology, which still has glitches, has replaced most handwritten reports.