Compromise reached in Westlake police suspension

August 17, 2010 at 7:56 pm

*published Aug. 17, 2010
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

WESTLAKE — The West–lake City Council on Monday crafted a compromise bet–ween Police Chief Jeremy Cryer and a city police officer challenging him for his job who was initially put on a two-week suspension.

As of Monday, Capt. Michael Dickerson is on voluntary unpaid leave until the Oct. 2 municipal election. Cryer said has said the suspension was not politically motivated.

The decision came after an hour-long session in which Cryer presented the findings of an internal investigation into allegations that Dicker–son threatened a woman while on duty on July 28.

The suspension is now in effect for eight days, and Dickerson is allowed to use benefits such as vacation and comp time to collect pay until the election.

Cryer would not say who suggested the compromise, but that he had no complaints about the decision.

Dickerson, a 14-year department veteran, has denied the allegations, but declined to comment further.
The incident was reportedly over a campaign sign.

On July 27, the owner of a hair salon on Sampson Street reportedly allowed Dickerson to place a campaign sign in front of her business.

The complainant, Pam Richmond, works at the salon and said she was under the impression that Cryer would also place a campaign sign in front of the business.

On the morning of July 28, Richmond said she moved the sign, with the owner’s permission, to an area behind the building to protect it from coming bad weather.

Dickerson reportedly asked Richmond not to remove the sign and said that if she didn’t like it, to call him and he would remove it.

Richmond said Dickerson came in the salon, spoke with the owner, then came and blocked her in a corner. She said he used a very “angry tone” and had “angry eyes.”

“I thought he was about to get violent,” Richmond said. “I was shocked, and that’s why I filed the complaint.”

Richmond said she lives outside the city limits and has no stake in the election. She also said her son, Tho–mas Richmond, a Westlake police officer, had no bearing on her decision.

“An issue occurred, I had to take action,” Cryer said. “Obviously I think I did the right thing.”

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