A Yellow Springs police officer who was demoted last year as part of disciplinary action could lose his job after alleged misconduct on the night of a fatal shooting in the village.
At the request of the village, an internal investigation has been conducted by a Clark County Sheriff’s Office detective into the actions of Dave Meister on the night of Dec. 13, when officers were called to a Corry Street apartment on the report of gunfire.
Kenneth Livingston, 40, was found dead at the apartment. Police have said it appears Livingston accidentally fatally shot himself. Police Chief Brian Carlson said this week they are awaiting results from the autopsy, and no other information from the investigation is being released at this time.
Meister had just finished his shift when the emergency call came into the village dispatch center. He advised the dispatcher to call a supervisor while Officer Paul Raffoul, the only officer on-duty, responded to the scene, according to village documents.
Village Manager Patti Bates notified Meister of the internal investigation on Dec. 18. Meister’s decision to go home raises “safety concerns for the welfare of the involved parties and the general public” and “may represent violations of YSPD policy, VYS personnel policy,” according to village documents.
Bates declined to comment about the ongoing personnel issue, but she said a pre-disciplinary hearing date has not been set.
Meister has been a Yellow Springs officer since 2009. He also works as a volunteer for Miami Twp. Fire and Rescue. Meister was demoted from corporal to patrol officer after disciplinary actions stemming from two traffic stops in March 2018, according to his personnel file.
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Meister told the Dayton Daily News in a phone interview that if he had responded to the shooting scene, he would have violated department policy because overtime must be pre-approved by a supervisor.
“Neither the dispatcher on-duty nor the officer on-duty ... asked or called me to come to the scene,” Meister said. “I knew if I had responded to the scene, I would have been knowingly violating policy.”
Meister said he has hired Attorney David Duwel to represent him as he fights the disciplinary action.
Tuesday night’s council meeting was well-attended. Seventeen people addressed council members in support of Meister, and residents have also submitted 20 letters in support of Meister to council, according to the village clerk of council.
Eric Clark, a resident of the village for 56 years, said he’s never seen so many people come out in support of a police officer.
“What is really hurting this village, we’ve had so many problems with the police force. Here we have the one person who seems to be the very definition of what we’re looking for, and he’s the one who’s being punished the most,” Clark said. “It seems to me if the village manager, the police chief, village council were really listening to the people, they would find some way to just pull that paperwork.”