Blue Ash Police investigation leads to two officers leaving the department

One officer was dismissed, a second retired after a call to a person not breathing led to investigation into their response (WKRC file/BAPD)

BLUE ASH, Ohio (WKRC) - A police chief has accused two of his now-former officers of violating procedure while a man was dying in a bathroom stall.

Both 30-year veterans have been forced out of the Blue Ash Police Department after a four-month internal investigation.

It started in late June when a man was suffering a medical emergency at Frisch's Big Boy on Plainfield Road. Four officers responded, including Chief Scott Noel.

At a press conference, Noel said, "Our department policy requires that in emergency response situations, such as a person not breathing, that our officers [use] lights and siren. Two of the three officers dispatched to this call did not respond with lights and siren on."

The man in the bathroom stall died despite medical help. Noel was the first officer on the scene, which is not the norm given his responsibilities related to running the police department. The chief rarely responds to calls for service but, in this case, felt the seriousness of the medical run warranted it.

It took the chief roughly five minutes to get to Frisch's. When Noel realized he was the first officer to arrive, he started an investigation into how the other officers responded.

"This was something that I personally observed and I ordered an internal investigation because this does not support the mission of this police department and I won't stand for it," Noel said.

The chief says Officer Gary McNeal did not use his lights or siren. McNeal is accused of speeding, cutting off another car and failing to use the video recording system in his patrol car.

The chief says Sgt. Edward Charron did not rush to the emergency, did not properly activate his patrol car video recording system and failed to supervise the scene, which was part of his job.

Both officers are accused of lying during the course of the investigation. Blue Ash officers had a meeting so that everyone is clear on the policy and what happens if they don't follow it.

Noel said, "Expediting to the scene and doing absolutely everything they can for this community and, unfortunately, I had two officers that didn't uphold that and they're no longer here because of it."

Noel believes given the victim's medical history, the officers would not have been able to help the man but says the two former officers' actions were still unacceptable.

After the recommendation to fire the officers, Charron retired. McNeal was fired.

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