1 of 2 cops on leave faces criminal accusation

BOARDMAN — The incident that landed two township police officers on paid administrative leave involves an allegation of criminal activity against one of them.

Late Friday, the township issued a news release saying that officers Steven Kendall, a five-year member of the force, and Ken Kasiewicz, a four-year department veteran, had been placed on administrative leave.

Acting Chief Jerre Patterson said Tuesday the investigation is ongoing, so information on the alleged incident isn’t included in the officers’ personnel files.

Patterson said the Kendall investigation is criminal as well as administrative. Regarding Kasiewicz, the investigation is administrative, the acting chief said.

He wouldn’t elaborate but said the criminal investigation has been referred to the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office. County Prosecutor Paul Gains declined to comment.

Patterson said the alleged activity came to the department’s attention when Jason Loree, township administrator, received a telephone call from a health-care professional who relayed information from another party.

The information dealt with alleged criminal activity involving a minor, he said.

Kendall’s personnel file includes several notes and letters of thanks and appreciation from members of the public and his supervisors.

In his most recent performance evaluation, which covered March through December 2005, his sergeant indicated that Kendall was either outstanding or above standard in all the categories, which range from ethics and appearance to job performance.

“Patrolman Kendall is a hard worker and does not avoid extra work or responsibility,” the sergeant wrote.

The file also includes a notice of a one-day suspension in 2004 for a confrontation with a dispatcher and directives to receive counseling, also in 2004, after citizens complained of his conduct in responding to calls.

Kasiewicz’s personnel file also includes notes from members of the public complimenting his performance.

In January 2006, however, Kasiewicz received a five-day suspension for conduct unbecoming an officer. Two of those days were without pay, and the officer used accumulated time to serve the remainder of the suspension.

The file says that Kasiewicz posted “inappropriate material on a personal Internet Web site” in which he identified himself as a township officer and displayed the department’s uniform and equipment.

Kasiewicz also was the officer who, along with a Youngstown police officer, shot and killed a robber who had taken a hostage at the Walgreens at South Avenue and Midlothian Boulevard.

The gunman engaged the officers who fired. That shooting, which occurred in June 2006, was determined to be justified, the personnel file shows.

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