Ohio police chief with outsize Facebook audience resigns after investigation led to suspension

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In this April 2, 2013 photo, Brimfield police Chief David Oliver answers questions during an interview in Brimfield, Ohio. Oliver, who’s become a social media celebrity because of his posts on the department Facebook page, has been suspended without pay for two weeks for an administrative policy violation. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)


COLUMBUS, Ohio — A small-town police chief who drew an outsize following with his blunt, frequently humorous Facebook commentary has resigned days after being suspended.

Brimfield Township trustees accepted David Oliver's resignation at a meeting on Friday. He didn't attend.

Some residents demanded to know more about the complaint and resulting gender discrimination investigation that led to Oliver's suspension, but township officials refused to discuss details and cited attorney-client privilege.

The Brimfield Police Department, near Kent, in northeast Ohio, serves about 10,000 people, but its Facebook page became one of the most-liked local law enforcement pages in the country thanks to Oliver's conversational posts and increasing popularity. The likes on the page have grown from a few thousand to more than 177,000 in less than three years.

Oliver announced his departure Friday morning in a lengthy post on his individual Facebook page, in which he said that untrue allegations had circulated and that his management style was used against him. He didn't specify the accusations against him but said that he "never once hugged an employee for 'dirty' reasons" and that most employees never complained of being "bullied" under his admittedly forceful leadership style.

"What you all are seeing now are some disgruntled people who are taking shots at me and have been since the (Facebook) page got bigger," he wrote. "Two are current employees, some I have fired in the past and some just hate me because of my personality. Whatever the reason, they are out in force, like vultures, enjoying the scene."

Oliver, who joined the police department in 1994 and became chief in 2004, also said that his work has taken a toll on him and that he suffers increasingly unpredictable panic attacks.

In a sign of his popularity, the post drew about 1,000 comments within two hours, nearly all of them messages of support, well-wishes or gratitude.

Oliver became a local celebrity with catchphrases such as "No mopes," a reference to his preferred term for criminals and other ne'er-do-wells. He also found his share of critics, who said he was using work time inappropriately or shouldn't have been discussing criminal suspects via social media.

Township officials at the meeting praised Oliver's work and emphasized he made a decision to do what was best for him. They said he could have returned to work after a two-week suspension and would have gone through diversity and anti-discrimination training that they now plan to require for all township employees.

"We didn't get rid of him," trustee Charles Sprague said.

Another trustee, Mike Kostensky, said Oliver told him he's done with law enforcement.

The trustees named Capt. Chris Adkins as interim chief.


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