Lawsuit Questions Validity Of Village Council's Decision To Dissolve Police Department

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.

(Cleves, Oh.) – A lawsuit has been filed in Hamilton County after Cleves Village Council voted to dissolve its police department.

Council voted 5-1 on Tuesday to dissolve the police department and contract the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services.

The measure is seen as a cost cutting measure by council. A similar move was made in 2010 when Village Council voted to disband the fire department. Since then, the Village has contracted Miami Township for fire and paramedic issues.

Following the decision to dissolve the police department, attorney Brian Shrive filed a lawsuit on Thursday which calls into question the validity of Council’s decision. 

The lawsuit accuses Village Council of an Open Meetings Violation and Invalid Formal Action.

Ohio’s Open Meetings Act provides the public with a right of access to the meetings of a large number of government bodies as the state and local level. The law entitles you to notice of these meetings and gives you the ability to inspect and copy meeting minutes.

The general rule is that all meetings of public bodies must be open to the public. If a public body wants to hold a closed or “executive” session, it must identify a specific statutory exemption.

The lawsuit states that Village Council failed to identify one or more of the approved purposes to hold a closed session and excluded the public from meetings on March 11 and July 8.

“The formal action to disband or dissolve the Cleves Police Department is invalid. The formal action to contract with the Hamilton County Sheriff to provide police services for the Village of Cleves is invalid,” the lawsuit reads.

Shrive is asking the court to enter judgement in his favor by declaring invalid the formal actions to dissolve or disband the Cleves Police Department and to contract with the Hamilton County Sheriff to provide police services to the Village of Cleves.

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