On-duty officers chase off-duty Fairlawn cops

Posted at 5:13 PM, May 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 08:36:41-04

The Fairlawn police chief said a meeting was scheduled with a prosecutor on Monday to determine if off-duty officers will face any legal trouble for leading on-duty officers on a "fast chase" along major roads.

The incident started around 1:40 a.m. on May 7 when Fairlawn officers spotted a car speeding on West Market Street.

The officers tried to pull over the vehicle, but the driver sped away and continued on Market Street, Ghent Road and Smith Road before stopping in the Lake of the Woods subdivision in Akron.

Chief Ken Walsh said the chase lasted about one minute and no one was injured.

However, the on-duty cops were surprised when they discovered the two men inside that car were off-duty Fairlawn officers.

The off-duty cops were not arrested, charged or given a traffic citation. Their names were not revealed by the department. asked Walsh if the cops were given preferential treatment.

"It's a judgment call on the part of the officers on the scene. We wanted an independent review. It's just the way we did it," Walsh said.

Walsh added that Monday's meeting with an Akron city prosecutor will help clarify if the officers will face any criminal charges or traffic offenses.

The chief said the off-duty officer, who was driving that morning, was on a medical leave prior to the chase. The second off-duty cop was a passenger in the fleeing car and remains on the job.

Tim Dimoff, an expert on police policy, said he was troubled by the case of cops chasing cops.

"They went beyond the norm here and people are going to say there is an increase in risk of danger to people, to themselves, to property," Dimoff said.

Dimoff said police officers have discretion on whether to charge drivers-- whether civilians or officers-- but, in general, a pursuit, makes charges more likely.

"I suspect that there was some horseplay going on," Dimoff said. "If it was an outright evading police officers, these people would be charged.

Attempts to reach the Fairlawn mayor and law director for comment were unsuccessful.