WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – An arbitrator has reversed a Warren Police officer’s firing, ruling that the Warren Police Department did not have just cause to dismiss Officer Jason McCollum.
McCollum was terminated from the Warren Police Department on May 5 during an investigation of an alleged use of force violation.
Warren Police Chief Eric Merkel said McCollum failed to complete proper reports after witnessing the use of force by Officer Christopher Martin, who was suspended for two days for failing to report it. Merkel said McCollum also lied during the investigation, saying the man who submitted the complaint was handcuffed without a struggle and didn’t complain of injury.
Police found that the man, Jimmie White, had complained of an injury after his arrest but that alleged injury had not been properly reported by officers.
According to Labor Arbitrator Michael Zobrak, however, an investigation was unable to determine whether McCollum’s incorrect statements were due to intentional dishonesty to avoid discipline or because he couldn’t remember exactly what happened seven months previously.
McCollum filed his grievance against the police department on May 10, alleging that his firing was not done with just cause. The ruling, which came October 19, says McCollum’s punishment did not fit with the punishment given to the other officer.
The arbitrator ruled that some discipline was justified, because McCollum had not reviewed the arrest videos before making his statement to investigators. In addition, he was previously disciplined for improperly using the Attorney General’s database, of which he did not have access.
The ruling reinstated McCollum to the police force, converting his punishment to a 30 day suspension without pay. He will be compensated for the rest of the time that he has been off the job.
McCollum has been employed by the Warren Police Department since April of 2002.