Village, ex-officer come to separation agreement

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Village, ex-officer come to separation agreement

Disciplinary action taken against a former Village of Yellow Springs police officer for his role in an incident during a New Year’s Eve Ball Drop celebration will not be included in any of the employee’s personnel files, according to a separation agreement between the village and the former officer.

“From the Village’s perspective, we were aware of concerns expressed by citizens at our public meetings,” Village Manager Patti Bates said. “The agreement gave both sides the opportunity to move on.”

According to the separation agreement, former Officer Randall Hawley Jr. will also continue to receive health benefits through May 31, 2017, will not receive severance pay from the village but will receive 14 weeks of leave pay, in a lump sum payment.

The 14 weeks of pay were an agreed-upon amount based on Hawley’s accrued leave, according to Bates. The total amount being paid to Hawley was not available Monday. The payout has not yet happened and the amount is “currently being calculated” by the village’s payroll department, Bates said.

Hawley’s employment ended May 4, according to a statement from the village. The village council voted 4-0 May 1 to end Hawley’s employment. Councilwoman Marianne MacQueen abstained, according to the village.

The agreement makes Hawley the third departure from the police department since the incident.

Shortly after the New Year’s Eve debacle during which officers were accused of using heavy-handed tactics to disperse more than 100 revelers, Police Chief David Hale resigned. He was succeeded by Brian Carlson, who was appointed interim chief in late February.

In March, officer Allison Saurber submitted her letter of resignation Feb. 9, citing a difference of opinion in the type of policing she believed in.

Saurber was criticized in an independent firm’s 22-page report on the incident for her use of Tasers during the New Year’s Eve celebration.

Bates said the village has already begun the healing process through initiatives within the village and police department.

“We will continue to proactively work toward a more progressive police department, in response to the village and citizens’ needs and requests,” Bates said. “Trainings in de-escalation, crisis intervention and implicit bias have already started and will continue.”

A local organization may sponsor future ball drop events, according to Bates, though there has been no announcement as to who the sponsor will be.

The council will conduct an internal search for a permanent chief. An appointment is expected in June, according to the village. Bates said there are no plans to post the vacancy externally. Applications for the vacancy will be accepted until 4 p.m. Thursday.

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