September 4, 2003


Officer’s hearing postponed

Last week’s hearing to help determine whether police officer Josh Cernetic would be disciplined for allegedly violating a series of police department rules was postponed until later this month.

Originally scheduled to take place last Thursday, Aug. 28, the hearing is now tentatively scheduled for Friday, Sept. 12, interim Police Chief John Grote said last Wednesday.

The Village, which must arrange the hearing, wants to have some youth testify, Grote said, but the Village did not want the young people to miss school to attend the hearing. Students in the Yellow Springs school district will not have to attend classes on Sept. 12 because of a teacher in-service day.

In addition to youth testifying, Grote said that the Village will have some adults and parents give testimony at the hearing.

The Village must hold the pre-disciplinary hearing as required by the Village personnel policy manual. During the hearing, Cernetic will have an opportunity to respond to the allegations contained in Grote’s report and call witnesses to testify.

A neutral hearing officer will oversee the hearing and issue a report on it, which is not open to the public, and conclude whether the alleged conduct occurred. Village Manager Rob Hillard will then determine how, if at all, Cernetic will be disciplined.

Last month, Grote recommended the Village dismiss Cernetic, who has been on paid administrative leave since July 4, for violating eight department rules, including using unnecessary or excessive force. Grote’s recommendation followed an investigation in which he determined that Cernetic had abused his power and that the officer’s behavior could not be rehabilitated.

The five-page report focused on three incidents from this summer, two of which involved allegations that Cernetic used unnecessary force against two teenagers, the other, that he missed an important DUI hearing in Xenia.

—Robert Mihalek