By Ed Runyan
Veteran Warren police officer Tim Parana has been suspended for 32 working days – 320 hours – without pay for a Feb. 21 episode in which he threatened a city resident in the resident’s driveway regarding a personal matter while in uniform but off duty.
The city resident is Jeffrey Stychno, 48, of Oak Knoll Avenue Northeast, ex-husband of Parana’s girlfriend.
Parana, 51, was also charged criminally March 28 in Warren Municipal Court with misdemeanor menacing and criminal trespass in the incident. The case is pending.
Warren Police Chief Eric Merkel suspended Parana on May 18, the date of the disciplinary letter that outlined Parana’s policy violations, saying Parana’s behavior showed “poor judgment, lack of professionalism, lack of impulse control and lack of respect.”
In the letter, the chief recommended to Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa that Cantalamessa rescind Parana’s status as a temporary sergeant, which would return him to his previous rank of patrolman. A call to Cantalamessa on Thursday was not returned.
Parana, who has been with the department 20 years, was appointed temporary sergeant earlier this year. Promotions were put on hold by legal action filed by several Warren officers. The temporary position Parana had was meant to fill the gap until the legal action was resolved.
The letter said Merkel found that Parana committed six violations of the police department’s policies and procedures during the Feb 21 incident.
The letter says Parana drove to Stychno’s house in his personal vehicle and confronted Stychno, who was in his driveway, minutes after Stychno allegedly made a threat to Parana at Stychno’s ex-wife’s house about a mile away.
“A witness next door stated that you were told by Mr. Stychno to leave his property several times and that you refused,” the letter says. Parana admitted Stychno asked him to leave “once or twice,” the letter says.
Parana was charged with criminal trespass because of that conduct. Violating that law is a violation of departmental policy, the letter says.
The letter says Parana stood nose-to-nose with Stychno “as if you were going to ‘push him or do something,’” the letter says. A witness said Parana also told Stychno “I know where you live” and “I’m going to get you,” the letter says.
As a result, Parana was charged with menacing. Violating that law is also a violation of departmental policy, the letter says.
Other violations were:
Wearing his police uniform during the confrontation, which happened while Parana was off duty.
Being disrespectful to a citizen when he called Stychno a derogatory term and repeatedly swore at Stychno. Parana admitted he had called Stychno a derogatory term.
Mocking, deriding, taunting or belittling another person.
Failing to give a citizen his name and badge number when the citizen asked for it.
The letter adds that Parana was disciplined Oct. 30, 2017, for a phone conversation Parana had with a lieutenant with the Ohio State Highway Patrol after Parana’s mother received a seatbelt citation by another trooper.
During the phone call, Parana committed the same policy violations regarding being disrepectful toward others as were involved in the Stychno matter, the chief said.
Parana received a 24-day (240-hour) suspension for the highway patrol incident, with half held in abeyance for successfully completing a counseling program, Merkel’s letter said.
“After two incidents of you lashing out at those you believe have wronged you, I have serious concerns about your ability and willingness to be an effective police officer at this agency,” Merkel said.
“While off duty, you chose to use the authority vested in the Warren Police uniform you wore and the badge on your chest to gain an advantage in a personal matter.”