Former Struthers officer loses bid to regain job
By jeanne starmack
A former Struthers police officer who was fired after an OVI charge has lost his bid to get his job back through arbitration.
The arbiter’s decision was released Monday in the case of Daniel Lamping, 34, a seven-year, full-time member of Struthers police when he was fired July 27 for an OVI arrest in Boardman on July 16.
Lamping was stopped at night on South Avenue by the Ohio State Highway Patrol because the car he was driving did not have its headlights on.
Lamping was driving the car for a friend who was intoxicated, the arbiter’s award indicates he told the city during an interview with city administrators. He told administrators July 18 he drank six beers and two shots of whiskey from 6 to 10:15 p.m. before the 11:15 p.m. traffic stop, while working on a house he’d recently bought.
The arbiter’s decision also indicates Lamping let the friend drive his own car until he noticed him weaving behind him. He drove the friend’s car while his wife drove their truck, the document says.
When the trooper pulled Lamping over, he refused field sobriety tests, indicated that he “worked for the city of Struthers” and told the trooper he’d had only two beers, the report says. He was arrested and ultimately refused a breath test.
The city fired him based on the facts that his driver’s license had been suspended, he was uninsurable because of the test refusals, he had violated his oath of office and he was dishonest, lying to the trooper and raising questions about his ability to be honest under oath in court cases, the document says. He also allowed his friend to drive an unsafe vehicle while intoxicated, then he himself drove the unsafe vehicle, the document says.
The city also contended that Lamping tried to use his position as a police officer to persuade the trooper not to charge him. The arbiter decided there was not enough evidence to prove that.
The decision is binding, but Lamping can appeal it to the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
“Obviously the city is pleased,” said Mayor Terry Stocker. “We hold our police officers at a higher standard. At the same time, it’s no time to rejoice when someone is losing their job.”
An attorney who represented Lamping at his arbitration was not avail-able Monday for comment.
Lamping’s criminal case still is pending in Mahoning County Court in Boardman. He has pleaded not guilty and the court has stayed his automatic administrative license suspension, so he drives unrestricted. The court has not ruled in an Oct. 30 hearing to suppress evidence in the case.