“Sheriff says deputy was suspended over reaction to loss of K-9” – Really, is this how you go about getting paid leave in the public sector?

  1. Sheriff says deputy was suspended over reaction to loss of K-9 Jun. 12, 2013

Written by
Kaitlin Durbin
News Journal
  • Filed Under

MANSFIELD — An apparent breakdown over losing his K-9 partner led the Richland County Sheriff’s Office to place deputy Raymond Jeff Frazier on paid administrative leave nearly five weeks ago, according to investigation records obtained Tuesday by the News Journal.

Frazier returned to duty June 4 per the psychologist’s approval, according to Maj. Dale Fortney.

Sheriff Steve Sheldon referred all questions to Fortney.

Beyond the breakdown detailed in the report, the News Journal became aware of an alleged incident that may have contributed to Frazier’s placement on paid administrative leave. That episode involved an alleged dispute between Frazier and a tow truck driver at a Mansfield towing company, but the incident was not included in the report, nor was it included in records sent to the News Journal in response to a Freedom of Information request. MP – Curious to why the MNJ did not interview his accuser who works for unnamed Towing Co.? So much for your freedom to get the information!

In response to a direct question about the incident, Fortney said via a text message that he “thought (the incident) was mentioned” in the investigation report he sent earlier. MP- You know what you get when you assume?, appears they do this a lot! – Maybe this officer is justified in his blowup?, anyone else would have been ordered by the Courts to attend Anger Management classes.

As of late Tuesday, Fortney did not respond to further inquiries about why information regarding that incident was not included or when the information would be available.

The information released Tuesday stated that after Frazier’s repeated claims that his K-9 German shepherd, Odin, was not performing its duties properly — namely the canine was not aggressive enough when pursuing suspects — the department decided May 14 that Odin should be transferred back to Sgt. James Sweat for remedial and advanced training.

Frazier was ordered to transfer all equipment, including his cruiser, to Sweat, with the understanding that the K-9 would either be returned to him once it was fit for patrol, or it would be assigned to the jail. It was unclear whether Frazier would receive a new dog if Odin was assigned to the jail, the report stated.

Since March, Frazier has been the only K-9 officer in the department. Frazier repeatedly worried he was never going to see Odin again and said that “if his dog was taken and not replaced, he would be looking for other employment,” according to the investigative report.

That’s when Frazier became upset, the report said.

As he walked out of the meeting room he said, “(Expletive) this and you guys, and if I can’t be in K-9 I’m going to find another job.”

According to the report, Frazier was later seen kicking several chairs in the Roll-Call Room, where he told Sgt. Brian Gunder “I can’t be here today, I will probably go out and do something to get myself in trouble.”

He submitted for a sick day. Gunder later saw Frazier “visibly emotional and crying” in his cruiser, according to the report.

The report also said Frazier made derogatory statements and accusations about other sheriff’s office personnel. MP-Certainly would like to hear what these accusations were, or WHO they were directed to. This could lead to some in the public coming out of hiding in fear of retribution that Frazier certainly is not afraid of.

When Gunder asked him if he was going to be all right, Frazier responded, “I’m going to have to be, this place doesn’t give a (expletive) about you. I should have never come to work here.” MP-I know officer Sweat is a noble man, curious to why he openly made sure Gunder heard him, could he be one of those Frazier made accusations about?

The next day, Frazier was placed on paid administrative leave and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation based on his comments about his other personal problems.

Frazier was cleared to return to work June 4, but Odin remained in training.

Four days later, Frazier was issued an “Instruction of Caution” for “Unsatisfactory Work Performance and Failing to Maintain a Required Standard of Performance.”MP- Any word on who wrote the “Instruction for Caution”?

This is the second time Frazier has been placed on paid administrative leave since he joined the sheriff’s office in 2001. He served eight days suspension for an “ASORT incident” in 2007.

When Frazier applied for a position with the sheriff’s office in 2001, he was not recommended. Frazier was considered “at high risk for future performance difficulty and at high risk for termination based on test results,” according to Lt. Robert Brown’s evaluation, included in Frazier’s personnel file obtained by the News Journal.

He was hired on as a road deputy the following month.

In the years since, Frazier has become a decorated member of the staff.

Exempting a near two-year period (2009 to 2011) where Fraizer was temporarily laid off, his personnel file holds at least 12 awards for “outstanding” or “exceptional” performance, including Officer of the Year in 2003 and Deputy of the Year and an Intelligence Award in 2007. MP- How could one with so many accolades have so many problems, a sociopath, or one who works with some? Again, with all this fair reporting news…we will never know?

He also received the Citizen’s Service Award in 2010 for helping to resuscitate a fellow officer that went into cardiac arrest during a basic SWAT course.

Twitter: @njKaitlinDurbin

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