Wednesday, September 2, 2009


The SCPR knows of at least one Canal Fulton resident who does not think is was appropriate for the Canal Fulton Police Department to investigate an incident involving Canal Fulton mayor John C. Grogan on August 8, 2009.

Here is an outline of the basic facts redacted from the Canal Fulton Police Department report of the incident:

See a copy of the entire police report below.

It is interesting to note that Officer Buhecker and his supervisor Officer Swartz were aware from the get-go that they had a "political hot-potato" on their hands.

As soon as Buhecker figures out that Mayor Grogan is somehow involved in the incident, he calls Swartz and on the way to the scene Swartz calls Chief David Frisone.

No reference at all in the police report as to whether or not Canal Fulton police should be investigating this matter, but there is a heavy implication the thought of conflict-in-interes entered Buhecker's and Swartz's mind because of their contacting the next higher level.

In the opinion of the SCPR, as soon as the Canal Fulton Police Department knew that the mayor was part of the investigation, they should have backed off and called in an alternative policing authority to do the investigation.

And why (?) didn't Grogan, in his capacity as mayor, say: "You know what, the Canal Fulton Police Department investigating the mayor's involvement in an alleged Ohio criminal code violation is not a good idea. Please bring in an outside policing authority to do this work."

What's more is that Grogan is a lieutenant in the Summit County sheriff's department (corrections) which the SCPR believes is an additional basis, in terms of an additional perspective, for him to have suggested outside policing on this incident.

The SCPR did pass this situation by a Stark County based police figure who didn't have the problem that yours truly and the Canal Fulton resident (referenced above) do with Canal Fulton police investigating this incident.

The SCPR's opinion is based on the following reasoning:

Given the lines of authority connections between the police department and the mayor, any decision to prosecute or not is going to be questioned. Such a state of affairs is not fair to anyone: not the public and its confidence in the police department's objectivity and its ability to identify and remove itself from obvious conflict-in-interest situations nor the subjects of the investigation itself.

In the end, the judgment that matters is that of the Canal Fulton community.

So to that end, the SCPR provides the entire police department for your review. What do you think? Did the police make the correct assessments? Did the prosecutor?

Here are the pertinent documents in their entirety for you to review in making your judgment.Grogan Police Report Docs Grogan Prosecutor Conclusion

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