Union appeals Toledo police officer’s firing

Man’s ex-wife filed complaints

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    Officer Jamie Brown at the scene of a burglary.

    The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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    The local patrolman’s union is appealing the termination of a Toledo police officer fired after his ex-wife filed complaints.

    Jamie Brown, 39, of Toledo was with the department for two years when he was fired April 26. He was one of 30 officers to graduate from the Toledo Police Academy on April 12, 2011.

    An internal affairs investigation determined that Mr. Brown misused a law enforcement database, initiated a traffic stop for personal reasons, did not record the traffic stop, behaved inappropriately, left his assigned duty station, and lied.

    The Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association is appealing, union President Dan Wagner said.

    “They have terminated three officers under my presidency and each was brought back under appeal,” Mr. Wagner said. “I feel Jamie is the fourth case that’s going to be brought back.”

    Mr. Wagner said the administration did not sufficiently prove its case against Mr. Brown and that the “discipline was too severe for what they were able to prove.”

    The timeline for arbitration was not clear, but Mr. Wagner said it could be four to six months before they know if Mr. Brown could have his job back.

    A probe of the officer’s conduct was launched in late November or early December, just after he reportedly used an electronic database, available to law enforcement agencies, to run a license plate of a vehicle parked outside of his ex-wife’s home, police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said.

    The database is not to be used for personal reasons, only when there is probable criminal cause, Sergeant Heffernan said.

    Not long after running the plate, Mr. Brown saw the vehicle during a work shift and stopped the driver. Although the driver was issued a citation for a license-plate light violation, investigators believe the stop was initiated for personal reasons, the sergeant said.

    The traffic stop was not recorded, which earned the officer another internal charge.

    On Dec. 11, Mr. Brown’s ex-wife, Misty Gilbert-Brown, of Curtice, was stopped in East Toledo and arrested for driving under the influence.

    Per departmental policy, Ms. Gilbert-Brown was taken to the downtown Safety Building for a breath test.

    Mr. Brown found out his ex-wife (the two divorced in 2010) was there, left his assigned beat and, without permission, went downtown and had “words” with her, Sergeant Heffernan said.

    A total of six charges were brought against Mr. Brown: dishonesty, abuse of authority in dealing with the public, dissemination and transmission of [law enforcement database] information, violation of operations manual directive for the in-car video systems, conduct unbecoming an officer, and absence from duty station.

    “We need to ensure we keep the best officers on the streets for the public,” Sergeant Heffernan said. “We take that very seriously here … and make sure the officers out there are truthful.”

    During the internal affairs investigation, other officers were interviewed, but so far only Mr. Brown has been disciplined. The investigation is ongoing, the sergeant said.

    Twice during the first six months of Mr. Brown’s time on the streets, a Blade reporter rode along with him and his field-training officer Amy Herrick. On his second day on the job, he said he wanted to be a police officer because, “I always thought it would be a good idea.”

    As he finished his field-officer training, Mr. Brown said he was enjoying the job. “It’s actually more fun than ever before,” he said.

    Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.