Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst and Law Director Jeff Amick today met with Lieutenant Eric Shelton and Sergeant Justin Poe of the Dayton Police Department Professional Standards Bureau to receive the final report of the investigation undertaken as a result of allegations made by former Sidney Police Sergeant Warren Melerine before Sidney City Council on December 9, 2019.
The following morning, Mayor Barhorst met with City Manager Mark Cundiff about the allegations made at the council meeting the previous evening. “We discussed the need for an external investigation,” Barhorst stated. “Mr. Cundiff indicated that I would need to pursue the investigation since he had upheld the firings of two officers including Melerine, and could therefore be the subject of the investigation.”
Subsequently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) all declined to undertake the investigation. BCI Special Agent Supervisor Roger Davis recommended that the investigation be conducted by a major police department preferably with limited ties to the Sidney Department.
“After consulting with Law Director Jeff Amick, the City of Dayton was contacted,” Barhorst stated. “The Dayton Police Department agreed to undertake the investigation.”
“Sergeant Melerine made a total of fifteen allegations, all of which were separately investigated,” Barhorst noted. “The principal investigator was Dayton Police Department Professional Standards Bureau Commander Lieutenant Eric Sheldon. He was assisted by Dayton Police Sergeant Justin Poe.”
“The conclusion reached for each of the allegations was that all were unfounded. In addition, Sidney Police Chief William Balling, Police Captain William Shoemaker, and individual officers about whom allegations were made were ‘exonerated of any allegations of wrongdoing concerning the allegations,’” Barhorst stated.
“I know that I speak for all of Council in stating that I am thankful that the investigation is finally over,” Barhorst stated. “It is difficult to move forward when there is a cloud overhead. Given what I know of the integrity of the officers and command staff of the Sidney Police Department, I anticipated this outcome, but also know that investigations can take twists and turns that are not foreseeable at the outset.”
“I am grateful to Dayton Police Chief Richard Richard Biehl and Dayton Law Director Barbara Doseck for their willingness to assist in this process,” Barhorst stated. “I am particularly indebted to Lieutenant Sheldon and Sergeant Poe for the countless hours the invested in this investigation.”
Delivery of the final report was delayed by the onset of the COVID19 pandemic.