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YPD Officer Chance resigns amid allegations of theft



Published: Sat, September 15, 2012 @ 12:08 a.m.

By John W. Goodwin Jr.

jgoodwin@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The career of one city police officer ended with an FBI investigation into alleged corruption and the loss of his certification to remain a cop in Ohio.

Phil Chance Jr. had been on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the corruption investigation, but he resigned Friday from the Youngstown Police Department instead of facing firing and possible criminal prosecution.

Police Chief Rod Foley said Chance could have faced felony charges of theft in office but instead was permitted to resign and end the matter quickly.

“The biggest thing I wanted to accomplish is that he not be a peace officer in the state of Ohio. We just felt this was the best way of getting him out,” Foley said.

The YPD’s Internal Affairs Division in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation initiated a public-corruption probe involving Chance after the police department received citizen complaints of possible officer misconduct.

“There was a complaint that there was money taken from an individual out there in the street. ... There were investigative measures to establish the integrity of the officer, and obviously he failed,” the chief added.

Investigators placed items in a location and waited to see if Chance would take them, Foley said.

Chance was found to have misappropriated property while on duty Sept. 6. A search warrant was executed Sept. 7, where investigators found the item in question in Chance’s personal vehicle.

Chance initially said he inadvertently left the item in his car, but the chief said that explanation is not plausible because Chance was given 24 hours to come forward with the item before he was approached by investigators.

Foley said it was necessary to launch the undercover sting operation because some of the tips about Chance’s behavior came from individuals with questionable criminal records. But investigators took the complaints to be serious because those filing them were not asking for anything in return; they were simply informing police brass about Chance’s activities.

Lt. Brian Butler of internal affairs said it needs to be understood the department does not take complaints and issues of police corruption lightly.

“We progressively pursue these types of allegations and take a proactive approach to rooting out corruption,” he added.

Chance had previously signed an agreement with the department after a series of internal affairs investigations. The agreement said he would be fired for any additional serious violations of police department policies.

Chance signed the agreement in early April. It called for Chance to discontinue the use of a drug that could “negatively impact his ability to perform the essential functions of his job” and has not been approved by a city-selected medical review doctor.

Chance, who was suspended for 60 days in April, agreed to enter a substance-abuse treatment program while on suspension and present monthly attendance sheets to the chief documenting his regular attendance at those meetings.

He also agreed to reduce his use of medications that affect his job and take a drug-screening test before returning to work.

Chance’s father, Phil Chance Sr., served as Mahoning County sheriff from Jan. 7, 1997, until July 16, 1999. He, too, resigned amid allegations of impropriety.

The resignation came three days after a jury in Cleveland federal court found him guilty of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, RICO conspiracy, obstruction of justice and two counts of extortion.

The elder Chance’s corruption case centered mostly on his 1996 election, when he sought the financial support of Lenny Strollo, Mahoning Valley mob boss at the time.

In November 1999, U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. O’Malley imposed a 71-month sentence on Chance Sr.

He appealed his conviction, and on Sept. 19, 2002, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the obstruction conviction and one extortion conviction, ruling the evidence did not support the verdicts. Reversal of the two counts didn’t affect the sentence, however.

Chance Sr. was released from prison in 2005.


Comments

1nuganuech(46 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

They gave this guy plenty of "chances." Sorry, couldn't resist. Guess it's true, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

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2cbrook88(17 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Senior was investigated & resigned amid allegations. So lets hire his clone! What a waste of time and $.

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3fcb(320 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Did I read this right? Felony criminal charges will not be filed because he quit?That's like some one robbing a bank but knowing they are going to be caught so they give they money back and no charges filed. No,I'am sorry that is just not right.How can you treat the normal citizens different than the police department.He should have been fired and charges should be filed against him! Every one gets treated the same!

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4nipsy(133 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

When you think of the Chance family name it just makes you laugh...Sorry, sell out, criminals...His father, his uncle and now him...PATHETIC!!!!

I am glad I am not related to this bunch of losers...

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5gdog4766(1466 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

I can imagine the spin his family is putting on this. Personal responsibilty is something they never heard of. And whatever member of YPD who suggested hiring this slob needs looked at. That individual is owned by Strollo or his minions. And remember his father was turned down for employment at a florida sherriffs department after he failed a lie detector test. He admitted to robbing prisoners, go figure.

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6georgejeanie(793 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Only in the Valley. Keep voting that straight Dumbocratic ticket people.

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7steelhead(124 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

If they had anyone else caught with this kind of evidence they would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but because he's a cop he walks away scot free? This is the kind of stuff that makes the public not trust the police. Makes all of the hard working, honest public servants look bad. Shame on Foley, Shame on Sammarone. They preach accountability, now it is time for them to be held accountable for THEIR actions. Someone needs to ask some hard questions and demand answers. What an absolute disgrace to the badge.

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