From late March to early June, a city police officer issued tickets and made arrests even though his driver’s license was suspended. Some cases could be affected in Alliance Municipal Court and Stark County Common Pleas Court.
From late March to early June, a city police officer issued tickets and madearrests even though his driver’s license was suspended.
Christopher McCord, who was named police officer of the year in July by American Legion Post 166, received a reprimand from Police Chief Scott Griffith.
The chief wrote that McCord’s actions were unintentional but negligent.
“Officers of the law are held to a higher standard, and I agree with that,” Griffith said earlier this week. “(McCord) suffered discipline as a result of that, whereas most people don’t suffer at their job (for a suspended driver’s license).”
But the reprimand, issued in late June, is not the end of the repercussions stemming from McCord’s initial failure to pay the fines and costs resulting from a failure-to-control citation the Ohio Highway Patrol issued in January.
Some cases could be affected in Alliance Municipal Court and Stark County Common Pleas Court. Motions to suppress evidence have been filed in both courts in cases involving McCord’s police work while he wasn’t properly licensed.
McCord crashed the vehicle he was driving into a tree during snowy and icy conditions in a remote part of Columbiana County, the trooper’s report said. The crash occurred off-duty and did not involve a police cruiser.
A trooper searched out McCord, who had abandoned the vehicle, the next day and issued the citation, according to records. McCord said it was cold outside and he and his girlfriend were on their way to pick up their baby from a relative. After the crash, they wanted to get the child home, and there were no crash injuries, he said about leaving the vehicle.
A defense attorney has filed a motion to suppress evidence in an OVI (operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol) case in which McCord made the traffic stop.
McCord, who was hired full time in January 2014, said that his failure to pay the fines and costs in a timely fashion — a mistake that got his driving privileges temporarily suspended by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles — was simply an oversight.
Griffith said that McCord’s live-in girlfriend had placed the traffic citation and related paperwork in a folder. McCord didn’t realize that his license had been suspended when she paid the reinstatement fee, Griffith said.
The officer said he apologized for the situation and took it seriously.
“It’s absolutely embarrassing,” McCord said. He said that his girlfriend believed that she was paying a late fee related to the traffic citation.
Next time, he said, “I would do a better job of taking care of it myself.” Added McCord, “It’s only a big deal (because) it’s a police officer.”
CantonRep.com staff writer