Discipline hearing for Meister set for next week
- Published: June 21, 2018
Yellow Springs Police Department Corporal Dave Meister is set for a pre-disciplinary hearing next Friday, June 29, at John Bryan Center, according to Meister’s attorney, David Duwell of Dayton, in an interview today.
The disciplinary hearing follows a departmental internal investigation into Meister’s performance following two March traffic stops, according to a police department memo obtained by a Yellow Springs News public records request. The incidents took place March 1 and March 14.
Meister is still on the job and performing his duties, according to Police Chief Brian Carlson in a June 21 interview.
“He’s on active duty,” Carlson said. “It’s business as usual.”
According to a May 24 memo from Carlson to Meister, “it was concluded that both vehicle drivers were repeat offenders, under suspension and possibly intoxicated.” The memo further states that the discretion used by Corporal Meister during those stops deviated from police policy for possible Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, or OVI, violations and “could have resulted in harm to the general public and or the offender.”
Meister was not available for comment.
According to the memo, Carlson is recommending that Meister be demoted from corporal to officer status, be given a three-day suspension without pay, have a performance improvement plan with a last-chance agreement, and go through a 12-month probationary period.
“We do not accept the recommendations,” Attorney Duwell said.
On Thursday, Duwell said he could not comment on the specifics of the case as it is ongoing. However, he stated that Meister’s position is that the discipline standards being applied to him have not been applied consistently in the department. Duwell and Village Solicitor Chris Conard have been in discussions regarding the case, and the pre-disciplinary hearing is taking place because they did not reach agreement on the recommended disciplinary actions. At the hearing, which is presided over by hearing officer chosen by the Village, Meister will have an opportunity to respond verbally or in writing to the charges.
Should Meister disagree with the decision issued by the hearing officer, he will have the choice whether to appeal the decision in court, according to Duwell.
Duwell held out hope that resolution could be reached.
“I’m still hopeful that everything can be worked out in the best interest of both David and of the community,” he said.
A fulltime officer since 2010, Meister is a popular officer in the community, and was one of three finalists a year ago for the police chief job. In January 2018, he was one of two officers promoted to the new position of corporal, which involves supervisory responsibilities. He and his wife, Zo Van Eaton Meister, and four children, live in Yellow Springs. Supporters are planning a rally in his behalf at noon on Saturday, June 23, at the Bryan Center.
6 Responses to “Discipline hearing for Meister set for next week”
I agree wholeheartedly with Barbara Mann. There is no need to start jumping to conclusions based on a minimal amount of information. It is not appropriate to pass judgment until all of the facts have been submitted. This is what our American legal system is based upon. Trial by opinion can be very dangerous to an individual and community as a whole.
I have lived in Yellow Springs 8 years. One of the reasons I chose to live here was the “Mayberry” small town community feel Yellow Springs offers myself and my family. Officer Dave Meister has represented my ‘Mayberry’ since living here. I was apprised of this Friday’s YS Police Department preliminary hearing over, from what I glean from this article, as well as taking the words from one local community member during last night’s youth baseball game (where Officer Meister later came to turn on the field lights, and whom I witnessed receiving and engaging in several warm greetings from surrounding spectators) to be perhaps, “lenient” judgement calls. I am sure there are facts I do not know, but where Officer Meister may or may not have exhibited leniency, I cannot help but think of a recent New Year’s Eve incident where our police officers were heavily criticized for being too forceful. Personally, for several years, I have invited Officer Meister to help me get a patrol officer to ride the bike path during Antioch School’s Anything on Wheels children’s cycling event, which he not only did but many years showed up and rode on his day off. He is the only officer I have seen stop by our Birch III neighborhood block party, not to say other officers haven’t, but Officer Meister and his family especially stand out because they do not live in our neighborhood. Over the 8 years I have called Yellow Springs home, Officer Meister stands out as the police officer I have known the longest and who always without fail is most congenial every time our paths cross. Of course our police officers need to be diligent in protecting our community and not simply win popularity contests. Though not informed of every single incident where Officer Meister has performed his duty keeping our community safe, I do remember when he was responsible for thwarting the Wesbanco bank robbery and helping to bring the criminals to justice. This is the first time I have made public comments to the YS News. My comments are not to sway or debate, only support Officer Meister and his family. I do not have or need details from attorneys or police officials surrounding the disciplinary hearing this week. Whatever the outcome, Officer Dave Meister will continue having my support, friendship and gratitude, and represent for me that ‘Mayberry’ small town personable, approachable and affable law enforcement officer all police officials should emulate.
I think it might be a good idea to wait and see what the full story is on this before everyone starts jumping in and trying to second-guess Chief Carlson. From the small snippet in the online YS News, it isn’t at all clear what really happened. Plus it isn’t good for either Officer Meister or Chief Carlson to have the situation “tried” by the public. There is a process in place and it seems to me that the process is underway.
We are a weekly paper that publishes only on Wednesdays, and we were not aware of this story, nor have access to information, in time to include it in last week’s paper. As soon as we were able to report on the story, which was Thursday, June 21, a day after last week’s paper came out, we did so and posted this on our website immediately. We will be publishing a follow-up story in this week’s paper.
This story should have been on the front page of the printed newspaper. This concerns the unjust decision by Chief Carlson to discipline an honest and upstanding officer for what seems to be a minor offense.
This article was not in the June 21 issue of the News. It is important for the people of this village to be informed about what is happening in our police department. Chief Carlson should clearly explain his policies to his officers and put them in writing before taking disciplinary action for what seems to me to be a pretty minor infraction. It’s too bad I had to find out about this matter on Facebook instead of seeing it in the newspaper.