By jeanne starmack
A Girard patrolman who has been on paid leave since a party involving teenagers’ suspected drinking and marijuana use at his residence will face a disciplinary hearing Monday.
An internal departmental investigation could neither prove nor disprove that officer Larry Neely knew that a party, on Feb. 8, or any others went on in a garage at his Mosier Road residence while he was at work, said Police Chief Jeff Palmer.
Police determined the parties had been going on for the last six to eight months on weekends and days off from school, Palmer said.
“We can’t determine whether drugs and alcohol were used each time,” Palmer said.
He said the question of “if you didn’t know, then why didn’t you know” is a good one and was part of the internal investigation.
Palmer said that though the investigation is complete, the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association contract calls for a hearing before any discipline is administered.
Neely is not facing criminal charges.
Palmer said the police department’s reputation is a big concern.
“We live our lives in the public eye,” he said. “We live our lives held to a higher standard than anyone else.”
Criminal charges were being filed Wednesday against five adults and four juveniles in connection with the Feb. 8 party, said Palmer.
The five adults are James Cupan, 18, of Indiana Avenue, who is charged with disorderly conduct and marijuana possession; Zane Chase, 18, of Church Hill Road; Michael Sorvillo, 18, of East Broadway; and Kylee Johnson, 18, of Weathersfield, all charged with disorderly conduct; and Michael Dulaney, 18, who is charged with hosting.
Dulaney is Neely’s stepson, Palmer said.
The four juveniles are charged with underage drinking.
Palmer said there were 19 teenagers at the party, and that police had been investigating tips about parties in Neely’s garage on Saturday nights since the beginning of January.
He said he and a detective were able to keep the investigation “close to the vest,” and Neely did not know about it.
He said the department received no calls from neighbors about the parties.
Neighbors contacted by The Vindicator said they never heard any noise at the house or had any problems with Neely.
Neely, 39, who has been with the department since 2008, has an extensive disciplinary record beginning in 2009. It ranges from counseling with a supervisor to a 10-day unpaid suspension for failing to answer two calls one night after he was dispatched. No one was hurt as a result, Palmer said.