An Allen County Sheriff's Department officer was discharged from the force, effective Friday, after a vote of the department's Merit Board.
Officer Christopher Ley, who was hired as a full-time deputy sheriff in December 2007, was not present at Friday's meeting of the merit board, which was held at the Allen County Courthouse. He had been on paid leave, which now ends.
Sheriff Ken Fries filed a notice of termination in early January, and hearings and testimony have been taken at various junctures since then, with two more days of testimony and discussion taking place this week, according to merit board President Win F. Rood said. A detailed summary of the decision to terminate Ley's employment was read Friday morning by Rood, with the board then voting 4-1 to approve the petition to terminate employment.
Rood, Robert Young, Bestituto Loran and Judge Kenneth Scheibenberger all voted to approve the petition; Ron Burkart voted no.
The decision to terminate was not based on poor behavior or repeated disciplinary action, as provided paperwork made clear. Instead, Ley's ability as an officer was deemed below standard long enough, through evaluations and field training, that the petition to terminate was filed.
That made the process difficult for Ley's fellow officers, Chief Deputy Dave Gladieux said after Friday's meeting.
"This wasn't easy. There were a lot of meetings, a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of long nights in figuring out what to do here because he isn't a bad person. It wasn't that, at all," Gladieux said.
"(Ley) was here for six years. There were relationships built. There were a lot of guys who thought about this, cared about this," Gladieux said. "He has a family. That is the kind of thing that makes this difficult. Hopefully, he will find some other pursuit that is better suited for him."