Officer’s conduct deemed improper
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
Youngstown Police Lt. John Kelty was suspended without pay for three days and was told by his chief any further misconduct could result in the loss of his job.
The sanction is the result of Kelty joining the motorcade procession for Vice President Joe Biden during his May 16 visit to the Mahoning Valley.
The police department’s internal-affairs division investigated the matter and deemed Kelty’s action to be improper conduct.
The suspension begins Thursday and ends Saturday.
Kelty was working as part of the local security detail during the vice president’s visit. At some point, Kelty pulled into the Biden motorcade with no official reason to be there.
Police Chief Rod Foley said the incident could have become serious given the level of security around the vice president. He said the threat level was not increased during the incident because someone recognized Kelty as a local police officer.
“The conclusion of fact is found to be ‘improper conduct.’ I believe that just cause clearly exists to take disciplinary action against you for your misconduct. As a result of the aforementioned misconduct you are to serve a three-day unpaid suspension,” Foley informed Kelty in a letter Monday.
“It is imperative that you understand that any more serious misconduct will most likely result in termination of your employment with this agency.”
Kelty is not permitted to work secondary jobs during the suspension period and has been ordered to turn in his unmarked cruiser.
Kelty has been at the center of public scrutiny on two other occasions recently.
He was reprimanded by Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court earlier this year for failure to turn over evidence in a murder trial and was given time off work in 2011 for turning in overtime that was not legitimate.
In another case, the internal-affairs division found that a complaint against Officer Sonia Moore concerning possible conduct unbecoming a police officer was unfounded because the grand jury duty summons she was accused of ignoring was served on her husband — not her — and she had no knowledge of the summons.
Moore was one of four people Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of common pleas court ordered into his court for a show-cause hearing after they didn’t show up for grand jury duty May 3.
Judge Krichbaum gave all four the choice of serving 10 days in jail or coming to his court every Thursday morning through August, and all chose the latter.
Lt. Brian Butler, internal-affairs staff inspector, said the investigation determined that a sheriff’s deputy served the summons on Moore’s husband at their residence while she was at work, and her husband didn’t tell her about it.
“There was a breakdown in communication,” Butler said, adding that Moore has “always been a good officer.”