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City cop off the job for alcohol use

Published: Tue, August 18, 2009 @ 12:05 a.m.


Chief Jimmy Hughes.

This is the officer’s second suspension this year.

YOUNGSTOWN — A city police officer is suspended and may undergo alcohol treatment after it was discovered he showed up for work under the influence of alcohol.

According to police, Detective Sgt. John Payne reported for work Aug. 10 over the departmental limit for alcohol. He was suspended without pay beginning Aug. 11.

Police Chief Jimmy Hughes said department officials handled the situation immediately upon learning Payne had alcohol in his system. He said Payne was taken off duty less than an hour after his shift started Aug. 10.

“We have a system of random drug testing, and we did receive some information that an officer had been drinking before work and came to work over the limit. We did test him, and he was over what we refer to as the limit for an officer on duty. He was removed from duty immediately,” said Hughes.

According to Hughes, the departmental limit for alcohol is 0.04. He said Payne was definitely above the departmental limit and may have been above the legal driving limit of 0.08. He said the department is waiting on test results before releasing Payne’s exact blood-alcohol level.

The chief said it is important to note that preliminary tests show only alcohol and no other substances were detected in Payne’s system.

Payne has been suspended for 30 days without pay, but Hughes said some of the suspension time can be negated because Payne has agreed to undergo some form of alcohol treatment.

“This is all part of our contract. When someone tests positive for alcohol or drugs, the contract calls for up to 30 days’ suspension and possible treatment,” said Hughes.

Hughes said the public needs to understand that the department takes alcohol abuse seriously, and continual abuse could cost an officer his or her job.

“This is not to be tolerated, and I don’t tolerate it. We will randomly test him three or four more times before the year is out just to make sure he is not a habitual offender of this. These subsequent tests could lead to dismissal from the department,” he said.

Payne was suspended without pay earlier this year, in June, over an altercation with another police officer in March.

Hughes said Payne and Sgt. James Pasquale were talking about work assignments and job-related issues when the discussion turned serious.

He said one punch was thrown, and a wrestling match took place between the two men before they were separated.

Each officer was given up to five days off work and an option to attend anger-management counseling to negate some of the suspension time.

Payne was also given the option of giving up vacation time to account for the suspension.



1XBROWNSX(35 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Officer Payne should immediately be fired. No if, and or buts about it. Not acceptable, Chief Hughes.
It would be one thing if Payne was on vacation, at a family barecue, and received a phone call to report to work in 45 minutes to an hour. I could understand that.
A Police officer, knowing he had been drinking and then reports for work, how dumb can he be? He should have called in sick.
Since Payne also had an incident in June, you would think he would be on his best behavior possible. Now this???

No, give his job to a young Youngstown officer who has gone through the academy, training, and has the physical qualifications and mental attitude to protect Youngstown residents from street thugs, punks and lawbreakers. Payne should and must be pink slipped.
What's next? Should the YPD wait until Payne gets in an accident from being hung over, and a YPD cruiser, (or city owned vehicle) is tore up, air bags deployed, front end smashed, radiator crushed into the front of the motor, windsheild shattered, headlights broken, leaves the scene on the back of a flat bed tow truck? THEN, something might be done? Hummmm....
Payne must go. He can get alcohol treatment and find another occupation.

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2timOthy(802 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree with both comments from Xbrownsx and jungljim69 fire this man now ! Over the legal limit and still driving to work and countinuing to want to drive and work. Now that sounds like a Drunk at the Bar when one wants to help them get home or take their keys for everyones own good ! Cops will never change they'll always feel above the Law. I think most of them think they can interpet the law better than Judges. Get rid of this Drunk He's out of excuses period !

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3timOthy(802 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

He ought to talk to X Columbiana County Sheriff Dave Smith he experienced in this kind of behavior while he was Sheriff !

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4Petunia(27 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I realize that alcohol is a serious problem, especially is used by our safety forces. However, after reading about the Finance Department's continuing failure to comply with the recommendations of the State Audit, maybe a drinking police officer can do a better job as Finance Director. This, too, should not be tolerated in City Hall.

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5vinny24(4 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

First of all this man apparently has a problem. You can not just throw this man under the bus, he needs help. Sounds to me like some of you have never been through hard times. I think he should recieve treatment, placed on limited duty, and reinstated. If he shows up again intoxicated, then U terminate him. At least give him a chance, especially in this economy. Even more so dealing with some of the criminals in youngstown. If an officer can last as long as he did he deserves another chance.

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6tgs23(18 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Hey Vinny24! Lets say next time he shows up over the limit, he kills someone with his car or gun. Could be a family member. Glad you reinstated him now? He has to go. I am a strong supporter of the safety forces, but this can't happen.

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7What_the_Heck(34 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Let's review, what was the last out come of a YPD officer under the influence, behind the wheel of a city owned vehicle?( Salt Spring Road) This is a person who can go to work at .04 and work a DUI check point? I can't have a beer on the west side while I'm bowling because I could get a DUI. Because I have a CDL they would throw the book at me. If he can't handle the pressure because of the work he does then he need a change of occupation. Been suspended before, he's on his second chance now. FIRE HIM. Let me say for the record I have all the respect in the world for the work the Police do, but this is CRAZY.

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8Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

It is difficult to dry an alcoholic out . They like the bar atmosphere and socializing . It will be a long uphill battle to keep him sober and on the job .

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9minister_dre(5 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm glad that any of you don't make decisions concerning this situation. I had the pleasure of working with Off. Payne and he is a fine officer. We all have made bad decisions in our life and believe me, I know that this is a very, very serious one. But I do believe in allowing someone to correct their mistakes. There IS NO EXCUSE for this action, but I don't believe he should lose his job... Above and beyond this incident, he is a very good officer. Stop passing judgement on people when you don't know the whole story, and always, always try and put youself in their shoes. I bet my last dollar that if the tables where turned...you wouldn't be telling the world to fire YOU!

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10bookgirl(29 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I've had the pleasure of working with this officer, he is a good man. He made a horrible error and he obviously needs help but at this point in time there is no reason to terminate his employment. We do not know the entire story, nor are we likely to. Everything happens for a reason, perhaps the YPD's solution will save this man. One error does not erase a lifetime of work. John, I'm praying for you and your family.

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11What_the_Heck(34 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I still don't understand why, of all work places, a Police station they have a mininum BOC that is not ZERO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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12woolyd(579 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

we WHAT THE HECK its simple why ypd doesnt have that policy. ytown doesnt already have enough gun toting drunks on its streets

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13woolyd(579 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago


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14What_the_Heck(34 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Wal-Mart probably has a ZERO policy

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