Report: Yellow Springs officer didn’t violate rules on night of fatal shooting

A mediator has found a Yellow Springs officer did not violate any policies for not responding to a reported shooting after his shift was over in December.

The mediator, Dayton-based Attorney Jeffrey A. Hazlett, has concluded that Officer Dave Meister, who was facing termination, should not face discipline. The case stems from his actions on Dec. 13, when 40-year-old Kenneth Livingston was killed from an accidental gunshot.

Meister had worked his shift and was off-duty while still in the dispatch center when the call for service at the Corry Street apartment was received.

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Livingston died from an accidental gunshot to the head, according to the Greene County Coroner’s Office. Police have not concluded the death investigation while awaiting results from tests on the firearm.

Village Manager Patti Bates put Meister on notice that an internal investigation into his actions was being launched. In the Dec. 18 letter, Bates alleged Meister may have violated department policy and/or village personnel policy by not responding to the shooting call.

The internal investigation was conducted by Clark County Detective Brian Melchi, who concluded that Meister should have responded to the scene and was not truthful during his interview with him.

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Hazlett was brought in as the mediator for the pre-disciplinary hearing and issued a 21-page report to the village after reviewing the internal probe’s findings, as well as surveillance videos and audio recordings.

Bates still will determine Meister’s fate and could make that decision by early next week.

Village council’s agenda for Monday now includes an executive session to discuss the discipline of a public employee.

A village-issued press release said, “It is important to note that the finding he did not violate policy was based, not upon the actual actions of Officer Meister, but upon the finding that Village policies were not specific enough to be absolutely clear in guiding Officer Meister’s actions in this case.”

Police Chief Bruce Carlson will work with Bates’ office to write more specific and clear policies to guide officers’ actions in the future, the release said. That will govern “use of overtime and expectations of officers in regard to emergency situations to avoid situations where the public and officers are at risk and Village resources are readily available.”

Many village residents came out in support of Meister, writing letters to village council members and voicing their support for the officer during public meetings.

Meister has been a police officer in the village since 2009 and he also works as a volunteer for Miami Twp. Fire and Rescue.

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