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Police and fire

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Dismissal of sheriff’s officer gets put on hold

– An Allen County sheriff’s officer whose personnel file is laced with words such as “incompetence” and “unbecoming conduct” was supposed to learn his fate with the department Thursday.

But a public meeting and executive session in which the sheriff’s merit board was to consider the officer’s termination was postponed for undisclosed reasons and has yet to be rescheduled.

That means officer Christopher J. Ley will continue to earn his $47,853 annual salary while serving a suspension.

A packet of records submitted by Sheriff Ken Fries to the sheriff’s merit board, which considers the hiring and firing of officers as well as other disciplinary decisions, outlines a nearly six-year career in which Ley failed to live up to standards.

Fries is asking the merit board to fire Ley, who joined the department in 2007.

Records submitted to the merit board list numerous times that Ley had unsatisfactory performances at various jobs and multiple times when Fries personally warned him to improve or he could be fired.

An attempt to contact Ley for comment Thursday was unsuccessful.

The sheriff’s department’s records do not list many specifics about what was unsatisfactory about Ley’s job performance, though they do indicate the troubles began around 2009.

Ley also had trouble passing the training to become a patrol officer and warrants officer, according to the documents, and by 2012 still hadn’t done so.

“Your inability to pass the most rudimentary written examinations, or to successfully complete the basic scenario assignments, combined with your past failure in the Field Training Program in the Warrants Division, makes me question your ability,” Fries wrote in a letter to Ley in 2010.

Early this year, Fries held back on recommending terminating Ley and instead decided to evaluate the officer every 30 days for the following six months.

On March 4, Ley was suspended for three days without pay after he drove his county police squad car with his radio scanner off. He unknowingly drove into a pursuit involving the Fort Wayne Police Department during that episode. On March 26, despite warnings to keep his radio on, Ley was again caught with it off, according to documents.

A final department review of Ley on April 12 led to Fries recommending his termination, according to the documents.

In the documents, Fries asked the board to fire Ley because of his “poor performance, incompetence and inability to comply with the standard operating procedures of the department in the performance of his duties.”

A sheriff’s department official said Ley remains suspended with pay until the outcome of the case.

jeffwiehe@jg.net

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