Springfield police officer charged with OVI previously suspended

Springfield police officer charged with OVI previously suspended

Public records show that a Springfield Police Division officer accused of drunk driving has had previous misconduct infractions and has once been suspended during his career at the department.

Officer Joey Robinson is charged with two counts of driving under the influence and one count of failing to stop at a traffic control device stemming from an incident on Aug. 25.

The Springfield News-Sun obtained Robinson’s personnel file through a public records request and combed through all 17 of his performance reviews on file.

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It shows that Robinson was hired by Springfield Police in 2009. In several of his first employment performance reviews, he seemed to impress his supervisors.

A sergeant wrote in 2010 that Robinson exceeded in public relations, commenting that “(Robinson) effectively handles public contacts and promotes a professional image of the City and Police division.”

In 2011, he received compliments from former police Chief Steve Moody on a review that said, “Joey, I am proud to serve with you. You are doing a solid job! Keep it up.”

Robinson started receiving critical reviews in 2012. Between both of his mid-year performance reviews that year, he received three marks that fell below the department’s expectations in the dress code, safety and integrity categories.

The former police chief outlines a report of serious misconduct by Robinson to former Springfield City Manager Jim Bodenmiller in 2012.

The report says that in Aug. 2012, officers found Robinson’s abandoned and damaged car in an alley near Ridge Road.

An officer determined that the car belonged to Robinson and noticed that inside of it, there was an empty beer can, several unopened cans of beer and a bottle of Crown Royal. Robinson’s uniform and police gear were in the trunk.

When Robinson arrived on scene, he told officers that he swerved to miss a deer on the road, he lost control and then hit a tree, according to the report.

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A police sergeant found ‘clear signs’ of a vehicle going through the front lawn of Northminster Presbyterian Church on Villa Road, crossing a driveway that leads into the church’s parking lot and damage to a nearby tree, the report says.

In an interview 10 days later with police supervisors, Robinson said he got off work at midnight that day.

Afterwards, he said he drank three shots, three beers and a mixed drink, according to the report.

Between 2:30 a.m. and 3 a.m., Robinson said he drove home, picked up more alcohol and then made plans to pick up his girlfriend in the Northridge area of Springfield, the report says.

Robinson continued on to tell supervisors that he was driving around 50 mph on Red Coach Drive and checking messages on his phone.

The report says at that point, “When asked about the claim that a deer had run out in front of him on Red Coach, Officer Robinson stated, ‘when I glanced up and I saw something and it just happened so fast that it just that when I though about it, it was the only thing I could think of that time that would be right there at that time.”

Robinson then tried to drive his car home, but pulled it in an alley near Ridge Road.

Robinson did not report the incident to police, and was suspended for one day without pay.

In a response to the report, Bodenmiller wrote, “I share Chief Moody’s concerns regarding the seriousness of your actions.”

Bodenmiller continues on to write, “At the same time, I am pleased to hear of your candor in reporting the facts regarding this incident. If not for this, I would have considered a lengthier suspension.”

In 2013, Robinson was dinged again on his performance review in the integrity category for making offensive comments toward fellow employees.

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Subsequent reviews were mixed — another glowing review from the former police chief in the first half of 2015, but matched later in the year with a poor review in safety for causing damage to a newer police SUV on rough terrain when it wasn’t necessary.

In Robinson’s most recent reviews on file from 2018, he received two ratings below expectations for making statements over police radios about other agencies — that could be heard by other agencies.

A review in the latter half of the year said that he was insubordinate to a supervisor in front of hospital staff, but had no more similar incidents that year.

Robinson was pulled over by a Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputy on Aug. 25 when the deputy saw Robinson run a red light by police headquarters.

Cruiser and body camera footage obtained by the Springfield News-Sun show that Robinson was resistant to give the deputy any information when asked. According to documents filed in Clark County Municipal Court, the deputy described Robinson that night by saying, ‘I could smell the faint odor of an intoxicating beverage about his person, and I observed that his eyes were very glassy and he was unsteady on feet — swaying back and forth.’

Robinson was taken to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Springfield Post for a breathalyzer test, but deputies say he refused to take it.

At the time of Robinson’s arrest, Police Chief Lee Graf would not comment about Robinson’s employment status, but sent a statement saying in part — “Any deviation from our policies and procedures within the Division are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly and fairly.”

The News-Sun reached out to Graf about Robinson’s employment status, but did not receive a response.

Robinson’s DUI case is still open, and the next court date is scheduled for later this month.

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