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Published: Friday, 9/28/2001 - Updated: 2 years ago

City's senior officer faces charges of delayed response

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The most senior Toledo police officer is scheduled for a disciplinary hearing next week after he was charged administratively for not immediately sending crews to two incidents, one which involved a man who later died after taking cocaine.

Officer James Ogle, 61, a dispatcher in the communications section, is charged by the department's internal affairs section with violating the department manual. He faces administrative charges of inattention or carelessness in performance of duty and habitual violation.

He allegedly did not immediately dispatch or make a general broadcast of a call July 17 to 2255 Eastgate Rd. in which a man reportedly was screaming for help. Officers were not dispatched for 20 minutes and 48 seconds although a police unit was in service when Officer Ogle selected the call, according to the charges.

The man, Wayne Shepler, 40, of 2254 Eastgate, lost consciousness while four police officers tried to calm him down at his home. He later died in St. Luke's Hospital. The Lucas County coroner's office ruled the death accidental due to acute cocaine-induced psychosis.

The same night, Officer Ogle allegedly didn't immediately send a crew or make a general broadcast of a domestic argument call in West Toledo. He sent officers to the domestic incident 43 minutes after the initial call, which came in after he dispatched officers to the Eastgate address.

Gregg Harris, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, declined comment yesterday.

Both calls were classified priority 2, meaning officers should respond as fast as possible but obey laws and speed limits. Such calls include domestic violence incidents and fights. According to guidelines used by dispatchers, officers should be sent immediately to priority 2 calls. If no one is available, a general broadcast of the incident should be made to all district crews in case someone can respond.

Communications Lt. David Wells declined comment on the investigation, but said in general, calls often are delayed because it is a busy time or there are no officers to send.

In March, 2000, Officer Ogle was awarded Badge No. 1, which is given to the active officer with the most seniority. He started with the department Jan. 13, 1967. The habitual violation charge was given because Officer Ogle's active disciplinary record contains four sustained violations, similar to the inattention charge, between June, 2000, and Jan. 13 of this year.

This is the second time an officer with Badge No. 1 has been involved in a disciplinary action. In 1999, O.J. McLaughlin, a 34-year police veteran, resigned for allegedly improperly transferring to new owners vehicles that should have been sold at public auction.

He worked in the department's records section and was in charge of identifying junk, abandoned, and stolen vehicles.


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