Amherst police chief on leave as city investigates work conditions

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AMHERST, Ohio (WJW)– The Amherst police chief was placed on a paid administrative leave while city officials investigate working conditions at the department.

The notice of administrative leave was given to Police Chief Joseph Kucirek Friday, stating a, “Fact-finding investigation” will take place regarding the, “Working conditions and climate of the city of Amherst Police Department and reports of a toxic environment.”

The leave follows an independent climate assessment of the Amherst Police Department done by LMS Consulting of Beavercreek.

The FOX 8 I-Team made a public record’s request to obtain a copy of the assessment.

The 27-page report stated the assessment was requested by Mayor Mark Costilow and Safety Service Director John Jeffreys, who were concerned over the turnover of personnel at the police department.

The assessment noted at the present time, “The style of leadership utilized by the police chief is defined as an authoritative/transactional leadership style which is rules-based with a military-like approach exerting full control over the department .” Officers interviewed said they felt intimidated and that the chief did not care about them personally or their families. They stated the chief told them if they want a family, “Find another job.”

The assessment stated, “Change is required in the current leadership style or turnover of employees will most likely continue.”

The chief released the following statement:

“To all public records requestors of the APD climate assessment, please see the attached statement:

During my 30+ years with the Amherst Police Department, I have always strived to conduct myself with the highest of standards, including the honor and integrity that this noble profession demands, and more importantly that society demands from us.

I know that the community stands behind our agency because of the hard work, compassion and professionalism of our officers, dispatchers, and staff, which I am very proud of.

To all public records requestors of the APD climate assessment, please see the attached statement:

During my 30+ years with the Amherst Police Department, I have always strived to conduct myself with the highest of standards, including the honor and integrity that this noble profession demands, and more importantly that society demands from us.

I know that the community stands behind our agency because of the hard work, compassion and professionalism of our officers, dispatchers, and staff, which I am very proud of.

Chief Joseph Kucirek

It is not known how long the city’s investigation will take.

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