Thursday, October 19, 2000

Police officer dismissed

Accusations involved lies and criticisms

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPRINGBORO — Placing an anonymous call in an apparent attempt to cause trouble for a fellow officer spurred a month-long internal investigation into a city cop's actions.

        But it was the lies that he told and criticisms of his bosses that cost Kelly Denlinger his job, Springboro Chief Dan McDonald said Wednesday.

        Mr. Denlinger, a 12-year veteran of Springboro who has a history of job-related infractions dating back to 1997, was fired Fridayfor dishonesty, neglect of duty and conduct unbecoming an officer. “The phone call was just the tip of the iceberg,” Chief McDonald said.

        “His attempts to cover up that act resulted in a string of dishonesties to the Carlisle and Springboro police departments because the two conducted separate internal investigations. During the investigations, he made inappropriate and false comments involving other officers.”

        Besides the lies, Mr. Denlinger also broke the rules by publicly criticizing Springboro's hiring practices, spreading false rumors about the qualifications of other officers, and leaving the city several times while he was on patrol.

        Initially, the 44-year-old officer was accused of calling the village of Carlisle offices Sept. 2 to report that one of their officers was out of his territory while on duty.

        Mr. Denlinger's actions sparked an unwarranted internal investigation into the Carlisle officer, village Chief Robert Pieper said Wednesday.

        He said the officer, who was applying for a job with the city force, had his permission to stop there briefly on-duty to pick up an employment packet and to be fingerprinted.

        The internal investigations narrowed to Mr. Denlinger because he was among three officers and a dispatcher who were present at the station that night, Chief Pieper said.

        “It's ignorant. The worst part for me is that it's a policeman saying something about another policeman without reason,” Chief Pieper said.

        “There's a brotherhood and sisterhood among law enforcement officers. There is a degree of trust. To me this was a breach.”

        Mr. Denlinger could not be reached Wednesday. He notified the city this week that he is appealing his firing to the state Fraternal Order of Police arbitration board.

        Chris Thompson, acting city manager in Springboro, said Mr. Denlinger was given the opportunity to resign, and she fired him when he refused.

        She said Mr. Denlinger's personnel file since 1997 includes 14 reprimands and other disciplinary measures short of suspension.

        Some of the incidents involved lying during two internal investigations of other officers, mishandling drug evidence by keeping it in his desk, using profanity, and failing to fill out offense reports, Chief McDonald said.


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