Back in May of last year, two off-duty Ohio cops that were caught driving 77 in a 35 mph zone refused to pull over and led police on a high-speed chase into a residential neighborhood. Eventually, they were stopped after they made a wrong turn and pulled into a private driveway.
It was at that point that the Fairlawn police officers pursuing them recognized them as Officers Justin Herstich and Brandon Foster, also of the Fairlawn Police Department. Instead of being arrested, beaten, and/or murdered for running from the police, they were simply allowed to leave, apparently without even having to get out of their vehicle.
Later, Officer Hertisch, who was driving at the time, was charged with failure to comply with the orders or signal of a police officer, reckless operation of a vehicle, and speeding. Of course, by the time it went to trial those charges had been “amended” to one single charge of obstructing official business. Officer Foster, the passenger, received his Policeman’s Discount right away and was not charged at all.
Last week, they officially received their “punishment.” Via News5Cleveland:
Two Fairlawn police officers, who were off-duty when they led on-duty officers on a high-speed chase, have been suspended without pay, according to law director Bryan Nace.
Officer Justin Herstich was suspended for 45 days, but 15 days were held in abeyance. He began serving the suspension this week.
Officer Brandon Foster was handed a 15-day suspension, but 10 of those days were held in abeyance.
In addition, Herstich cannot be a training officer or an officer in charge for one year. Foster can’t take on either of those roles for a period of nine months.
“There’s an economic aspect here that hits them in the pocketbook, but I also I think it sends a message that you can’t have this type of lack of judgment even when your off duty,” Nace told News 5…
Herstich faced traffic charges for speeding and reckless operation of a motor vehicle. He was also charged with willful fleeing.
The fleeing charge was reduced to obstructing official business, according to Akron Municipal Court. The officer was found guilty on the amended charge and given community service.
So yeah, I have no doubt that Nace is correct that that thirty day suspension and community service that Herstich got, along with the five days without pay Foster had to suffer through, for something anyone else would have been facing felony charges over will serve as a loud and very clear warning to them and everyone in that department that they can’t just get away with this sort of thing. Not to mention the look of disappointment over their “bad lack of judgment” he reportedly gave them the day after their little high-speed adventure.
That’ll show ’em.