Hearings held for WPD officers

Chief recommends firing of one officer following June 22 incident

By Jennifer Woods - jwoods@aimmediamidwest.com

Washington C.H. Police Department Chief Brian Hottinger has recommended that one of his officers be fired and the other be suspended following a June 22 incident involving three off-duty officers.

The disciplinary hearing for officer Logan George occurred on Wednesday and the hearing for Sgt. Derek Pfeifer occurred Thursday.

According to the police report from June 22, the incident occurred at 516 Waverly Drive in Washington C.H. Pfeifer was listed as the reportee and Musser as the witness. The officer who reported to the scene was David Page.

The report states, “According to the witness [Musser] he was a passenger in a motor vehicle that was passing by Logan George’s residence when two female passengers yelled obscenities towards George. The vehicle then pulled into the driveway at 516 Waverly Avenue where Logan George drove down to and began questioning the females on what was said to him.”

“As this occurred the complainant pulled up in a vehicle and requested George to leave his property. The males then began to exchange words and both parties got up in each others faces and continued a verbal argument until the witness and another male separated the parties.”

The report further explains there were no physical punches thrown by anyone at the scene. Pfeifer wanted a report initiated for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, but was told that was not going to happen that evening as the incident was over, reports said. Pfeifer continued to argue that a report needed to be made and was once again told the incident was over.

George left the scene as advised.

The incident is still under internal review. Hottinger provided a recommendation to Washington C.H. City Manager Joe Denen regarding the disciplinary action toward the officers prior to the hearings.

Hottinger’s recommendation is part of a public document. The recommendation given to Denen was for George to be terminated and for Pfeifer to be suspended for three days.

When speaking with Washington C.H. City Council Member Caleb Johnson, he put an emphasis on this document being purely a recommendation as nothing has been decided yet. Johnson said he believes there is a “huge disparity” between the two different disciplinary actions recommended and he, personally, does not believe termination of either officer is necessary based off his current knowledge.

Johnson had brought the incident up during Wednesday’s council meeting, which caused several comments from other council members in the meeting explaining the situation is under investigation and therefore should not be spoken about.

Johnson disagreed with those statements as the information he was bringing up was “public knowledge.” He spoke both in and outside of the council meeting about the need for better policies and procedures to help handle situations such as the one at hand and to help with keeping factual information available.

Now that the hearings have concluded, Denen plans to consult with city attorney Mark Pitstick and Hottinger to make the final decision on the disciplinary actions toward the officers.

Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.

Chief recommends firing of one officer following June 22 incident

By Jennifer Woods