Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Columbus Police Chief Wants Officer Fired

Here's an interesting bit of news about the police officer who hit-and-run a cyclist while allegedly driving drunk.
Hit-and-run in Grove city
Columbus chief wants officer to be fired
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 3:04 AM
Lisa Smith has been assigned to desk duty.

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Lisa Smith has been assigned to desk duty.

A Columbus police officer accused of hitting a 13-year-old bicyclist with her van then driving off should be fired, Police Chief James G. Jackson said.

The recommendation from Jackson came a week before Lisa M. Smith, 44, is due to be sentenced for the Nov. 3 crash that injured the boy.

Smith pleaded no contest last month to a misdemeanor charge of hit-and-run driving for striking Justin Richie as he pedaled along Southwest Boulevard in Grove City. A judge then found her guilty.

Smith, a 17-year police veteran, was off duty at the time and driving her personal vehicle. She had been at a Grove City bar before the crash, according to a police report.

Judge Scott D. VanDerKarr of Franklin County Municipal Court has told Smith that she faces up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine and a license suspension of at least six months when she is sentenced Monday. A charge of failure to control was dismissed as part of a plea deal.

Smith has been assigned to desk duty in the vice unit while the case progresses.

Jackson's recommendation now goes to Safety Director Mitchell Brown, who will decide whether to fire her.

-- Theodore Decker tdecker@dispatch.com

I'm never in favor of just randomly firing people, but in this case it's deserved, I think. If a police officer can't be responsible on the road, then that officer doesn't deserve to be an officer any more. Police need to be responsible even more than normal drivers... and she wasn't.

People, not speed.

9 comments:

  1. I was going to post about this article too. I'm not sure how much you have followed this, but I was going to point out some other facts about the case...

    She called off work so she could watch football all day long.

    She was already taking several prescription medications.

    A December Dispatch article cited a receipt that said she has 12 beers and 3 shots.

    There is no DUI charge because she holed herself in her house until she sobered up.

    And don't even get me started on how the punishment for hitting a human being with a car then running away is the same as knocking over a mailbox and driving off.

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  2. Wow. I knew about the alcohol, didn't know the rest. If she's this unstable, she REALLY needs to not be in a position of authority.

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  3. Seems like a no brainer to me, but I'm sure a union and other contractual factors are involved to complicate things.

    Hit and run with injury is just a misdemeanor? Wow. Since she's the law I guess she realized the hit and run would be a lesser charge than DUI. Good for the witness who followed Smith home after the hit and run.

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  4. Hit and run just a misdemeanor? (What Fritz said.)

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  5. hrllo everyone.
    i am justin richie, the kid who got hit.
    i just want to thank everyone for there support through this.
    wow. this just goes to show that you cant really trust cops.

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  6. Lisa Smith is a fabulous police officer and friend. She raised her children on her own and would absolutely never ever intentionally hurt a child. People are always quick to judge especially when an officer or state/government or important official is involved. Dont judge unless you have walked in the shoes or know the whole story.

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  7. Normally I'd give you the benefit of the doubt, "Anonymous." But she was drinking and driving. Illegal and immoral. She hit someone and drove off, illegal and immoral. And she did this despite being an officer of the law. That pretty much condemns her in my book.

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  8. It's nice that Ms Smith has friends sticking up for her and I'm all for understanding, but I don't see how Ms. Smith just "accidentally" went to a bar and "accidentally" got drunk and "accidentally" put the keys in the car and "accidentally" left the scene of the collision after hitting the poor kid. All of those sound like intentional acts to me.

    Perhaps Ms Smith and her friends should walk in the shoes of the families of the 16,000 people who are killed by drunk drivers each year in the United States.

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  9. anon said:
    Lisa Smith is a fabulous police officer and friend. She raised her children on her own and would absolutely never ever intentionally hurt a child.

    I know the family, and this statement is not entirely true. Her ex-husband is a caring, involved father and she DID NOT "raise the children on her own". She did a dangerous job for the people of Columbus, and she deserves respect for that, but driving drunk and running a kid down is inexcusable. Firing her is absolutely appropriate since she only got a slap on the wrist for the hit-skip.

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