Village puts Nipper on leave during investigation
- Published: December 30, 2015
The Village of Yellow Springs placed longtime police officer Dennis Nipper on administrative leave on Dec. 22 pending the completion of an investigation, according to a statement from Village Manager Patti Bates issued Tuesday, Dec. 29. According to the statement, “At this time, the Village cannot comment or discuss any matters pertaining to the investigation.” The investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, or BCI, an arm of the Ohio attorney general’s office.
According to the statement, Nipper’s wife, Jane, charged with disorderly conduct also on Dec. 22. The charge was referred to the Xenia Municipal Court, where it was scheduled to be heard on Dec. 30.
In an interview on Tuesday, Dec. 29, Jane Nipper stated that her husband, a 43-year veteran of the department, was told he was being placed on leave, but not why, when he reported to work on December 22. He was told to turn in his badge and his gun. According to Jane Nipper, she later went to the department to find out why her husband was placed on leave and “things escalated” when she was treated in a manner she felt was disrespectful. She was also told she would not be allowed on the police department property for a week.
“They just sent him home without a reason and I thought he deserved better than that,” she said.
Dennis Nipper declined to comment.
According to Village Solicitor Chris Conard today, it is customary for the person being investigated to not be informed of the reason until the agency conducting the investigation, in this case the BCI, decides to do so.
In an interview Wednesday, Dec. 30, Police Chief Dave Hale stated that he could not identify the reason for the investigation.
“When an allegation surfaces about an officer, I have to look at it to see what validity it may or may not have, and if the allegation is true, determine what potential harm there might be to the department or the Village,” he stated.
The BCI was called in due to the scope of the investigation and the need for impartiality, he said. Hale also stated that he doesn’t know how long the investigation will take.
Nipper, formerly a sergeant in the local department, retired several years ago and then came back as a part-time patrolman.
Update, Dec. 30, 9:30 p.m.: In Xenia Municipal Court today, Jane Nipper, who was charged by Yellow Springs police on Dec. 22 with disorderly conduct after her husband, Dennis, was put on administrative leave, was advised by the judge to procure an attorney, Jane Nipper said in an interview today. The case was continued until Jan. 6. Nipper, who pleaded not guilty, was released on her own recognizance.
According to the Yellow Springs police narrative of the Dec. 22 event, Dennis Nipper was informed that he’d been accused of misconduct when he reported to work at 5 p.m. on Dec. 22, and told that he was being put on administrative leave. He was advised to go home. His wife, Jane, returned to the Bryan Center about 20 minutes later and approached Chief Dave Hale, who was sitting in a car. According to the arresting officer, Sgt. Josh Knapp, Jane Nipper appeared to be upset and was “yelling” at Chief Hale after she asked him for the reason why her husband was put on leave and Hale responded that he couldn’t give her information because the matter was under investigation, and that she should return home. She replied with an obscenity, according to the report, after which Chief Hale exited the car and told her to leave or she’d be arrested. At that point Sgt. Knapp also told her she would be arrested unless she calmed down and Nipper repeated the obscenity, the report stated. She was then arrested for disorderly conduct and calmly entered the John Bryan Center, where she was given a citation.
According to Chief Hale in an interview on Dec. 30, Jane Nipper was cited into the Xenia court rather than the Yellow Springs Mayor’s Court because he gives officers the discretion to choose which court to use, and Sgt. Knapp chose the Xenia court.