To the Editor: Lake trustee: Serious action was warranted
Written by Richard Welling   
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 10:21
When the Lake Township Trustees first became aware of the alleged incidents of Feb. 9 involving two firefighters and a police officer, the following action occurred.  
An investigation was started by the police chief and the deputy fire chief because it appeared at the time that the fire chief may have had some involvement in the alleged incidents.   
Trustee Ron Sims  was advised not to be involved in any of the investigation and to recuse himself from any and all actions taken coming out of the investigations.
The investigation was conducted following the procedures outlined by law and the rules and regulations of the Lake Township Fire Department. Once the pertinent facts were ascertained, the two fire fighters were interviewed by the deputy fire chief who outlined the issues to them. And the township's legal counsel interviewed the fire chief.
The three were entitled under the law to due process, they instead chose to accept responsibility for their actions and tendered their resignations to the trustees for acceptance which we did at a special meeting called by me on Feb. 21.  
In regards to the secondary issue of the police officer involved, under the O.P.B.O contract the police chief is responsible for any and all discipline under Section 14 of the contract and that issue has been handled by the police chief.
I do believe that the former chief was an outstanding fire chief for the township and a true hero of June 5, 2010.  
The response of safety service personnel during the tornado was heroic and done following standard emergency protocols -- the actions taken on Feb. 9 were not and therein lies the problem.
Good deeds of the past do not justify complacency of the rules and regulations that govern societal behavior of the present. Medical standards and practices are vital and exist to protect everyone.
Given the pertinent facts, serious action was warranted by the trustees.
It may seem a harsh decision but it was the right decision under the law which was in the best interest of the whole community and the integrity of the Lake Township Fire Department.
Richard Welling
Lake Township Trustee

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