This story may shock you. It may make you burst out with laughter. It may repulse you. Nothwithstanding any of these reactions, it will grab the mind.
Mentor police officer Phil Croucher, while off-duty, attended a Cleveland Browns football game recently. While tailgating, of sorts, Croucher assumed a dare from a contingent of other off-duty cops from the Mentor Police Department, nine of whom pooled money amongst them and collected $450. to influence the fiasco. The dare? Well, it was for Croucher to physically dunk his head in a five-gallon bucket filled with urine. Given that this was a tailgate party-type scenario, with the endemic beer consumption, we can safely assume the accumulated pee was from various attendees.
With a crowd encircled around the outdoorsy, grassy area whereupon which Croucher was largely cheered--although some jeered--he removed his T-shirt (Ohio State Buckeyes-emblazoned), cleansed his face/head with some sort of antibacterial solution, assumed the position, squatted down, and submerged his brain-cradle in the urine-filled bucket. Yes, you read that correctly. He most certainly did, in plain view
Among the crowd of spectators were intimated a myriad of comments, pro and con, and of course, a plethora of cell phones recording the entire approximately-three-minute-long nugget. As one can imagine, it did not take very long before this incident went viral on YouTube. One of the aforementioned spectators could be overheard, among the crowd's whooping and bantering, exclaiming "YouTube gold right here!" (Consult attached video for the full monty).
Initially, Croucher was not identified as a police officer. However, once the multiple YouTube videos of this dunking incident went viral, ubiquitously streaming into households and offices, Croucher's name leaked out and caught the attention of the Mentor Police Department administration in Ohio. Croucher, a police officer, is a 16-year veteran of the M.P.D. force.
Notwithstanding Croucher's off-duty status at the time, the Mentor police chief, Daniel Llewellyn, did not find the event, including its infamy, as amusing. In fact, he felt it not only discredited his department but also placed Croucher's reputation in disrepute.
"You were identified as a Mentor police officer and that information was broadcast on many of the television, Internet and news print media casting a negative light on the professionalism of not only yourself as a M.P.D. officer, but the entire organization," Llewellyn said in his official suspension notice, according to WTSP-TV.
Shortly thereafter this dare was filled, Croucher was placed "under suspension" and subjected to a medical evaluation, given the potential biohazardous effects he may have exposed himself to. Seems like an accordingly appropriate measure, given any policeman's propensity to have multi-contact in any given day. It was after medical examination results were in-hand, producing favorable ends, that Croucher was permitted to rejoin the patrol roster, pending an internal investigation.
Chief Llewelynn imposed a two-day suspension on Croucher, given his ill-reputed actions as a Mentor policeman, no matter his off-duty status at the time. Chief Llewelynn felt that Croucher represents a government entity, the City of Mentor and, as such, had a moral and ethical obligation to act professionally at all times. Croucher's conduct regarding the dunking incident brought on ample negative attention to himself, and catered to a poor public perception of the police profession in general.
Chief Llewelynn articulated that he expects all of his officers to exhibit at all times such exemplary performance, well beyond basic standards, prohibitive of acts which may be deemed offensive, embarrassing, and unbecoming a law enforcement officer.
Given Croucher's behavior and conduct unbecoming, Chief Llewellyn also recommended that he be ordered to attend an alcohol evaluation that would be arranged and paid for by the city, according to Mentor.patch.com.
In addition to Croucher, other officers were reprimanded for this incident. Written reprimands were meted out to nine officers--among them one police lieutenant and two sergeants-- because they were present at the time Croucher assumed the dare. Each allegedly contributed $50 to the monetary pot, even coaxing Croucher into such an act, according to Patch.com.
“The fact money was collected for this 'dare' should not detract from (Croucher) assuming final responsibility for this poor decision,” Lt. Tom Powers wrote in the notice of administrative action, according to The News-Herald.
Croucher responded to the entire affair, feeling the suspension was unjust and without basis, according to the Ohio News-Herald.
Before this incident cast Croucher in a vast public spotlight, his tenured police career and personnel jacket went unblemished.
No matter, according to society's expectations of its law enforcement officers, we may be taken-aback by such reports and outlandish activity among police. Based on how one views the overall scheme of this specific event, a Mentor police officer may not be mentoring very well.
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