WARREN - A veteran police officer placed on paid administrative leave this week has been the center of several disciplinary investigations during his nearly 24-year career with the city.
Warren police Chief Eric Merkel officially informed Officer Reuben Shaw in a letter dated Tuesday that he would remain on paid leave pending the outcome of "any criminal and / or administrative investigations regarding the towing of a motor vehicle from private property."
Shaw, who has been with the city police department since Aug. 14, 1989, was ordered to surrender his duty weapon, badges, radio, identification and any equipment related to his job after being placed on paid administrative leave.
He also was advised that he is prohibited from working any police-related side jobs until further notice.
City officials have said little about the matter except to confirm that an investigation has been initiated.
Citing a letter from Merkel to the Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation, Tribune Chronicle newspartner WYTV 33 News reported that Shaw was placed on administrative leave because he, while on duty, had towed a vehicle to property he owns without the owner's permission.
Merkel wrote that the incident was a "potentially criminal matter."
Records show that the city has taken issue with actions by Shaw since shortly after he was hired, ranging from questions of frequent tardiness to recklessness with his police weapon.
For example, Shaw agreed in May 2011 to reimburse the police department $519 to replace his weapon after it was stolen from under the front seat of his truck. Former Warren police Chief Timothy Bowers noted in a letter to Shaw that Shaw "recklessly took the risk of having the weapon stolen" when he made the decision to place his duty belt and weapon under the front seat of the truck instead of securing it in the locker provided by the police department.
In May 2012, Shaw was suspended for one day without pay after running out of gas while driving his cruiser to an off-duty job. In that case, Shaw called May's Towing, which billed the city $35. The suspension was for failing to notify the department that he was working a side job, according to Shaw's record
In a letter dated April 11, 2012, Bowers informed Shaw that any further violations of police department policy "will result in progressive punishment that may include discharge."
Warren has terminated three police officers in the last year, including Manny Nites, David Gallagher, and Jeffery Miller, according to Warren Safety-Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa.
Miller was terminated for failing to follow the terms of his probation. He had a previous arrest in connection with drinking and driving as well as domestic violence.
Nites was terminated in 2012 after it was learned he participated in a fantasy football league while he was on duty. He previously was cited for coaching youth basketball games while on duty.
Gallagher was fired in May because he was unable to perform the necessary physical activity required of the job.