September 18, 2003
police officer, facing disciplinary hearing, resigns
Josh Cernetic, the Yellow
Springs police officer who has been placed on paid administrative leave
since July, resigned from the police force last week.
Cernetic submitted his
resignation in a letter to Village Manager Rob Hillard dated Sept. 9. His
resignation was effective Sept. 12.
Village Manager Rob Hillard
said on Tuesday that Cernetic’s decision “closes this issue
for both parties, the Village of Yellow Springs and Mr. Cernetic.”
Cernetic did not return
a phone call seeking comment. His attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Dayton,
declined to comment.
Up to the time of his
resignation, Cernetic’s future employment with the Village was in
doubt. Interim Police Chief John Grote had recommended that the Village
fire Cernetic after Grote determined that the officer violated eight department
rules, including the use of unnecessary force. Grote said that Cernetic’s
actions, “particularly his issues involving abuse of power,”
eroded any trust that the public, the Police Department and Grote had in
we had to go through this, but things couldn’t keep going on like
they were,” Grote said on Tuesday. “We had to make a change.”
After Grote made his
recommendation, the Village had scheduled a pre-disciplinary hearing for
Cernetic. Because Cernetic resigned, the hearing was canceled, Hillard said.
A settlement agreement
between the Village and Cernetic states that Cernetic’s resignation
should not be construed as an admission of “any wrongful act against,
or any liability to, Mr. Cernetic or any other person.”
In his letter to Cernetic
accepting the officer’s resignation, Hillard noted that because a
hearing was not held, there was no opportunity to verify Grote’s report
Cernetic, who is 28,
was hired by the Village in 2000.
He had been on paid leave
from his job with the Police Department since July 4, the day after he was
involved in an altercation with a Yellow Springs High School student in
the municipal parking lot on Corry Street. Grote conducted an investigation
into that incident and found that Cernetic used “excessive”
force against the teen.
In his statement on the
incident, Cernetic denied using force against the youth, saying that the
teenager would not follow his orders and that when he placed his hand on
the youth, he lost his grip, causing the young man to fall to the ground.
also found other incidents he found troubling, including another incident
in which Cernetic allegedly used excessive force against a local juvenile
Grote called the situation
with Cernetic unfortunate and difficult. “We’re going to move
on and hopefully Josh can move on, too,” he said. Grote said that
the department now plans to hire at least one officer, though he is searching
for both full-time and part-time personnel.
“We have vacancies
and everybody in the department is working hard,” he said.
The Police Department
is down three officers right now, including Cernetic. Earlier this year
the Village fired officer Matt Williams, though Williams has appealed that
decision. This month Jim Miller officially retired as the police chief,
though he had been placed on paid administrative leave in March.