Chief gives details in hospital incident


First Posted: 6/29/2008

I am responding to the June 10 letter written by Esther Renee Coleman regarding the treatment of her brother by local law-enforcement authorities on May 5.

The Lima Police Department responded to a call for assistance by the security staff at a local hospital. Security officers had taken a man into custody who had exhibited violent behavior in the hospital terrorizing staff members and destroying property. The man was extremely combative and making loud unintelligible sounds and he struggled violently with hospital officers before being brought under control and taken into custody by the hospital officers. The hospital officers called the Lima Police Department for assistance in transferring the man to the Allen County jail. Upon the LPD's arrival, the man continued his combative behavior which included spitting at the LPD officers and struggling with them, kicking one officer, and trying to kick out the LPD cruiser windows.

The man was transported to the Allen County jail, where his conduct continued involving the officers of the Sheriff's Office. His actions eventually resulted in him being probated by county officials and ordered into a mental institution for evaluation. During his incarceration in the jail, several attempts were made by Allen County jail staff members to contact his relatives but were not successful.

On May 8, Mrs. Coleman came to LPD trying to find her brother. She asked the on-duty desk officer, who had no personal knowledge of the May 5 incident, if her brother was in custody. Since the man had not been arrested by the LPD, the officer could not find any information that he had been a prisoner nor was he currently in jail. The officer took Mrs. Coleman's contact information and the personal information on her missing brother, which was to be shared at each roll call in the event he was located. The officer agreed to contact Mrs. Coleman if he learned her brother's whereabouts. When the desk officer conveyed this information to the next shift, a supervisor remembered our involvement with her brother three days before and explained the situation to the desk officer. He in turn contacted the Allen County jail to learn that her brother had been probated. The officer then contacted Mrs. Coleman about his findings.

A subsequent meeting has been held among the law-enforcement entities involved in this matter and Mrs. Coleman, her sister and her mother. After reviewing the actions of the LPD officers involved in this incident, I found the officers' actions to be professional and conducted in the best interest of her brother, the public and the officers.

J. Gregory Garlock is chief of the Lima Police Department.