Officer suspended in connection to parties

GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) — A Girard police officer will keep his job and an investigation is complete into underage drinking parties at the officer’s house.

Officer Larry Neely has been suspended without pay for 20 working days under a ‘last chance” provision in the department’s conduct code in connection to the investigation. The agreement means that if Neely violates any terms of his employment within the next two years, he will be terminated.

Girard Mayor Jim Melfi and the police union agreed to the terms of the reprimand.

A closed-door hearing last week included Neely, Police Chief Jeff Palmer, the city’s safety service director and the city’s attorney. At issue was whether Neely knew anything about the underage beer parties that took place at his house while he was at work. Neely said, “No comment,” when asked if he knew about the parties.

City officials confirmed that Neely admitted during his disciplinary hearing that he knew his stepson was holding underage parties at his house and he did nothing to stop them.

Melfi said that while Neely has a lengthy disciplinary record with the police department, he didn’t feel this current offense was one in which he could be fired.

“You don’t fire somebody for spitting on the sidewalk and you wouldn’t succeed,” said Melfi. “All you would do is cost the city tax dollars down the road. You make proper decisions in a progressive path.”

Police raided Neely’s  home earlier this month after neighbors complained about parties taking place at his home.

Neely has been cleared of criminal charges.

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