EUCLID, Ohio-- Speaking out for the first time, Euclid’s police chief admits the past year has been tough but vows that he is making changes to the department that has made national headlines over the last several months.
“I do love this city,” said Chief Scott Meyer, who has worked in the department for 23 years. He took over as chief in late 2016. “I care deeply for the residents of Euclid and so do my officers.”
Meyer and his assistant chief, Kevin Kelly, sat down with the I-Team Tuesday to discuss the department’s officers, who have come under scrutiny for several arrests. Those arrests include the police-involved shooting of Luke Stewart, the arrest of a woman from last March, the arrest of Erimius Spencer that happened in December 2016, as well as the August 2017 arrest when then Euclid Police Officer Michael Amiott was caught on video hitting a man after a traffic stop.
The chief said his staff now reviews all use of force reports.
“All officers are required to fill out a form on each use of force,” the chief said. He added that he was unable to address the specifics of many of the cases because several are now the subject of civil suits.
The chief did ask the U.S. Department of Justice to come to the station and provide additional training to officers.
“We thought what they offered was very beneficial and we will build off that and continue to build off that,” Meyer said.
Several Euclid officers have also been disciplined. Amiott was suspended and then fired. On Monday, an arbitrator ruled Amiott should get his job back.
“Regardless of my personal feelings, the arbitrator made that decision and I am bound by that decision,” the chief said. “This will be a long gradual process before he is back responding to calls.”
He noted Amiott will be with a field training officer and undergo 80 hours of use of force training.
The chief and assistant chief say they are also concerned about Amiott’s safety as well as the other officers.
“The officers, and not just the officers involved in some of these arrests, but a lot of the officers have received death threats,” Kelly said.
Meyer, who took over the department in late 2016, added that he knows changes need to be made. He noted that in July, a federal judge criticized the department’s training protocol that included a slideshow and a comedy video.
“I can understand and appreciate how that can be perceived as being insensitive,” the chief said. “ I understand that. It was not meant to be that way, but moving forward we will not have that again. That is my responsibility and I will make sure we don’t.”
He and Kelly said they want the public to know there are many dedicated officers and they are all working to better the department and keep the community safe.
“I am amazed by our officers,” the chief said. “They care; they work hard, and they want to protect this city and keep everyone safe.”