Public records state ‘lack of supervision, unsatisfactory work’ and ‘poor judgement’ for demoted officer in Piqua who received city settlement

By Sam Wildow

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PIQUA — Last week, the Piqua City Commission authorized City Manager Paul Oberdorfer to execute an agreement to settle a grievance action, and the agreement included a settlement payment to city employee William Weaver, who works at the Piqua Police Department.

Weaver has been employed as a Piqua police officer since Aug. 18, 2003, and he was promoted to the rank of police lieutenant on March 4, 2015. The settlement payment to Weaver was a “one-time lump sum” of $25,000, according to the agreement, and Weaver also agreed to a voluntary demotion on Dec. 7, 2021, which was the date of his original demotion. Weaver was demoted from lieutenant to patrol officer.

According to public records released on Friday, June 10, through a public records request, Piqua Chief of Police Rick Byron recommended Weaver’s demotion in December 2021 following an internal affairs investigation. According to a memo from Byron, Byron held a pre-disciplinary hearing on Nov. 30, 2021 with Weaver regarding the findings of the investigation and “other recently documented incidents concerning an overarching and on-going lack of supervision, unsatisfactory work performance, conduct and poor judgement and decision making on Lieutenant Weaver’s part in carrying out his duties as a front line supervisor.”

Byron’s recommendation was split into multiple allegations in regard to Weaver’s supervisor responsibilities, efficiency, performance, and conduct. Byron also noted there has be “overwhelming evidence that Lieutenant Weaver repeatedly makes the same mistakes,” and that since Weaver’s promotion to police lieutenant in March 2015, Weaver “has been documented extensively for an overarching and on-going lack of supervision, unsatisfactory work performance, conduct and poor judgement and decision making in the performance of his duties as a Police Lieutenant.”

The memo cited a failure of Weaver “to be reasonably aware” of the performance of his subordinates or to provide appropriate guidance and control, citing an incident in September 2021 that revolved around scheduling an officer in charge for a shift on Sept. 8, 2021, which “was not addressed and resulted in major issues on the 8th.”

In regard to Weaver’s performance and conduct, there was an incident cited where Weaver “loudly cursed” during a department PT test being conducted at the Piqua High School while students and staff were in attendance. The behavior was heard by school staff, members of the department, and Weaver’s subordinates, according to Byron.

Other incidents were also cited in regard to Weaver’s performance, including an incident in September 2021 where an officer and Weaver responded to a report involving an anonymous caller who “reported hearing a child screaming for about 10 minutes from inside a residence” at approximately 4 a.m. that day. The initial narrative, which was written by the other officer, stated that no child “was crying upon officer arrival” and that a child “was seen through a window sitting on the couch watching TV.” There was no supplement or case management, and the report was approved by Weaver.

Supervisors questioned whether anyone was contacted at the house, if either the officer or Weaver knocked on the door, how old the child was, and if the child was home alone. When asked about the decision not to make contact at the residence, “Lt. Weaver stated it didn’t look like anything bad was going on and did not want to wake up the parents if the child was just watching TV,” according to Byron’s report. Weaver also “commented that he will knock on any door that I want him to knock on in the future.” Supervisors instructed Weaver that it was not about knocking on doors, writing, “It is about fully looking into a call and especially one where we should be making sure there is a responsible adult there to watch the young child.” Weaver responded to that, explaining that “he was not trying to make shortcuts and was only trying to do the right thing.”

Additional incidents of “Neglect of duty” and “Unsatisfactory work performance” were cited in the report. Byron’s memo from December 2021 also states that Weaver has been previously “suspended, reprimanded, given a performance improvement plan, counseled and provided training.”

Also in March 2021, Weaver’s most recent police supervisory performance review documented a “Poor” rating in the areas of “Leadership and Supervisory Control related to his performance as a Police Lieutenant.” Weaver was the subject of a previous internal affairs investigation in February and March 2021, which resulted in Weaver being suspended for 24 hours without pay. That investigation, according to the Piqua Police Department’s personnel complaint, cited attendance issues, specifically in regard to “Excessive absenteeism or abuse of privileges.”

The February and March 2021 investigation also included an ethics allegation. Byron, in a memo to Weaver, stated Weaver “used his authority as a supervisor which enabled him to take time off from work at his discretion without having to give anyone a reason why for his own personal gain.” The memo went on to state Weaver’s actions “were willful and deceitful as they included placing a phone in the department stairway to ensure his GPS showed he was at work; sneaking in and out of the department to place and/or retrieve this phone; and at times parking his personal vehicle away from the department in hopes not to be seen by other employees as he returned to the building.”

Weaver’s disciplinary file also included a written reprimand from March 1, 2018 from the chief of police at that time, Bruce Jamison. Weaver was reprimanded for an alleged incident where “Lt. Weaver sent inappropriate messages to a subordinate officer’s wife after being out at a local bar with this couple and others,” according to the written reprimand. The corrective plan for Weaver, at that time, was for Deputy Chief Jason Preston to counsel Weaver and, together, establish a “mutual agreement on at least two intentional initiatives designed to build trust and respect for Lt. Weaver with his immediate subordinates.”

Weaver’s December 2021 demotion was approved by Acting City Manager Amy Welker. According to the settlement agreement the City Commission approved last week, Weaver is not prohibited from applying for future promotional opportunities within the Piqua Police Department. The agreement also acknowledges “that Weaver has no prior discipline that the City can reply upon for purposes of future progressive discipline since Weaver again became a patrol officer.” The agreement also states that this agreement “is the result of a compromise of disputed claims” and it is not to construed as evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of either party, including the City of Piqua and the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the union that represented Weaver in the grievance.