A Huron County sheriff's deputy was disciplined Thursday after an in-house investigation was conducted into his handling of a Sept. 20 two-vehicle crash.
Sgt. Steve Shupp was issued a verbal warning and will also undergo re-training with regards to the sheriff's office canons and ethics after he failed to follow policy, according to Chief Deputy Ted Patrick.
"Sgt. Shupp handled a crash investigation on Sept. 20 on Chenango Road near New London that involved two vehicles," Patrick said.
"A female had backed into the path of another vehicle that was traveling southbound on Chenango Road," he added.
"Sgt. Shupp investigated the crash and found one individual to be at-fault in the accident," Patrick said. "But, he neglected to cite her."
The Reflector requested copies of the crash report from the HCSO, which it provided.
The crash report stated the female who was operating the Ford F-150 that backed into the path of a second vehicle was driven by Valerie Chapin, wife of New London Fire Chief John Chapin.
The crash report also showed where Chapin admitted she was at-fault in the crash.
Shupp is also a member of the New London Fire Department.
"Sgt. Shupp was asked why the female was not cited," Patrick said. "Sgt. Shupp indicated he felt he had officer discretion in that situation.
"It was determined who was at-fault in the crash and according to our policy he had an obligation to cite her," Patrick said. "So, I instructed Sgt. Shupp to go back and issue her a citation."
Patrick said he asked Shupp if he did not issue Chapin a citation because her husband was his fire chief in New London.
"He said, no," Patrick said.
Patrick gave examples regarding officer discretion.
"If an officer sees you driving 65 mph in a 55-mph zone, the officer has the discretion to issue you a citation," Patrick said. "Sometimes the officer will, sometimes they won't.
"If an officer sees you roll through a stop sign, sometimes you will be issued a citation, other times not," he added.
"You are to be issued a citation at an at-fault crash," Patrick said. "That's the policy.
"Sgt. Shupp used poor judgment, was disciplined and will be re-trained on the canons and ethics section of the policy by a lieutenant," he said. "Then, we will move forward."
Patrick said proper citations during a crash are also important for insurance reasons, so the responsible person's insurance can pay for the damages.
"Deputies are to maintain an impartial and high level of integrity when making decisions," Sheriff Dane Howard said.
This incident was Shupp's second with regards to ethics in the past year.
In June 2012, Shupp was disciplined for instructing a dispatcher to run a non-law enforcement/personal information search through the HCSO computer.
The Reflector learned this through a personnel file request Thursday.