Liberty police union has “complete confidence” in police chief
By Samantha Phillips
The Liberty Fraternal Order of Police No. 65 and Liberty Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association union released a statement Monday in light of a pending lawsuit against the township that names as defendants two trustees and policemen, including police Chief Toby Meloro.
The suit, filed last Wednesday, alleges the investigation of Loraine Lynn’s death was inadequate, violated her due-process rights and marred any hope of justice for the family. It targets the township, Meloro, police Capt. Steve Shimko, former police Chief Richard Tisone and trustees Arnie Clebone and Greg Cizmar.
“The Liberty Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 65 and the Liberty OPBA police union would like to express its complete confidence in Chief Toby Meloro,” according to the statement.
Lynn’s body was found Aug. 2, 2017, on a small tractor partially submerged in her mother’s pond. She had been missing since Aug. 1.
Police initially deemed her death a tractor accident, but her family remained suspicious because she had operated equipment such as excavators for decades.
Former Trumbull County Coroner Humphrey Germaniuk ruled Loraine Lynn’s death a homicide six months after her body was found.
According to the complaint, the coroner told the daughters Loraine had no water in her lungs and had apparently died before entering the water.
The lawsuit alleges the homicide was inadequately investigated and evidence of possible criminal activity among other claims.
Eric Holloway, the attorney representing Lynn’s two daughters, responded to the statement: “No amount of present-day support erases Defendants’ past unconstitutional failures as identified in this lawsuit. The Lynn sisters continue to seek answers to their Mother’s untimely death, and they seek to ensure such failures never happen again in Trumbull County, Ohio.”
Clebone declined to comment last week, but during a swearing-in ceremony for a police dog Monday morning, he said he wanted to focus on the positives.
“Chief Meloro and all of you are a great force, you’re all wonderful,” he said, listing initiatives such as starting the school resource officer program.
“Liberty’s a great place to live, and will be even better because we have good people in place.”
Likewise, the FOP and the union support Meloro.
“In the past 11 months, Chief Meloro has effectively run and managed this agency, starting new programs, including a Police Chaplains’ Unit, a new K-9 unit, and again this involved the police department in various community policing activities, including National Night Out,” its statement said.