BROOK PARK, Ohio (WJW) – The former Brook Park police chief is fighting to get his job back.
Attorney Dan Leffler, of the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, has filed a notice of appeal of the termination of former Chief Thomas Dickel. The notice was sent to the Brook Park Civil Service Commission Monday.
The Civil Service Commission was set to meet Thursday.
The FOX 8 I-Team sent requests to the chief and the law director asking for the chief’s personnel file and any letters given to him regarding his termination. City officials did not respond to requests.
Mayor Edward Orcutt spoke cautiously to the I-Team.
“I, as the mayor, have evaluated all departments over the last several months,” Orcutt said. “I’m in the process of making a change in the head of the police department.”
Orcutt said on Wednesday the chief is off the job but did not elaborate. He would not say if the chief was fired or demoted.
The I-Team has now learned the chief received a notice of his termination last week. The four page letter states the chief “has failed to adhere to his required duties and responsibilities.”
The letter further states Dickel failed to provide corrective action for an officer, failed to answer emails and messages from residents and did not meet deadline given by the administration.
“Chief Dickel “delegates” work to subordinates, but does not oversee, provide constructive feedback, or further direction. Delegation without oversight and monitoring is not delegation. To develop subordinates effectively, supervision is required,” the letter states. “Chief Dickel has failed to schedule regular staff meetings to keep supervisory personnel informed of ongoing police department needs and/or to receive feedback of possible policy changes.”
The mayor also states in the letter that the chief did not provide oversight of the department’s budget, did not review department performance and effectiveness and did not tell the mayor or safety director when he is taking vacation.
Daniel Leffler, chief legal counsel of the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the attorney representing Dickel, released the following statement:
“According to the Charter of Brook Park as enacted by its residents, the Chief of Police is a classified Civil Service position within the City, and the Chief’s position is earned through testing and successive promotion; it is not subject to simple appointment and or removal by the Mayor. As such, the position is NOT one of a mere political appointee or at-will employee. Upon review of the Mayor’s termination letter and the applicable law and civil service rules, the OPBA has determined that every single allegation is either untrue, or does not rise to the level of termination, let alone any type of discipline.
“Mayor Orcutt’s termination order, other than not meeting the standard for removal of a civil service Chief of Police, seems politically and personally motivated. The purpose of the civil service system, as adopted by the citizens of Brook Park, is to insulate the Police Department from personal vendettas and whims of ever-changing politicians. Chief Dickel has both enjoyed and endured a law enforcement career of over thirty years. He has served as a narcotics investigator, Patrolman, D.A.R.E. officer, Sergeant and Captain before becoming Chief. He has been promoted three times within the police department, and has been enduring service with an unblemished record as Police Chief in a difficult and challenging time for law enforcement. In return for a career of service, Mayor Orcutt, without warning, and on the very personal and political whims that the civil service laws prohibit, had him escorted out of building after ordering him to turn in his pistol.
“Pursuant to Charter of the City of Brook Park, a Police Chief who is disciplined or terminated may file an appeal with the Civil Service Commission. The OPBA has filed such an appeal, asking the Civil Service Commission to conduct a hearing over the allegations and to allow Chief Dickel to present his side of the story.”