The Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (O.P.B.A)

Beachwood PD Giving Competitve Test For Entry Level Police Officer

Beachwood Police Department
2700 Richmond Road
Beachwood, Ohio 44122 216.464.2343 216.292.1954 Fax
www.beachwoodohio.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Beachwood Police Department is an equal opportunity employer.

The Beachwood Police Department will be offering an entrance examination for the position of Full-Time Patrol Officer on October 24, 2012, at the City of Beachwood Community Center, 25225 Fairmount Boulevard, Beachwood, Ohio.

The dates and times for Application Distribution and Submittal at the Beachwood Police Department, 2700 Richmond Rd., Beachwood, OH 44122 are as follows:
September 24th – September 28th, 2012 (Mo, Tu, Th, F) 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., (We) 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
September 29th, 2012 (Sat) 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
October 1st – October 5th, 2012 (Mo, Tu, Th, F) 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., (We) 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Successful completion of the Police Standardized Physical Agility / Fitness Test offered by Cuyahoga Community College (CCC) is a pre-requisite to turning in an application. Please contact CCC directly to register for this portion of the testing process at 216-987-3033.

The Beachwood Police Department will accept certificates of completion for this test dated October 5th, 2011 or later for those candidates who have already successfully passed this test. Certificates must be presented at time of application submission. No one will be permitted to take the examination without having presented a certificate showing successful completion of this physical agility / fitness test at time of application. All certificates are subject to verification.
Those persons who have properly completed and submitted an accepted application and other required documents will be required to take a written examination on Wednesday October 24th, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. at the City of Beachwood Community Center, 25225 Fairmount Boulevard, Beachwood, Ohio. The passing grade for the written examination is 70%. The written examination is being prepared by Ramsay & Associates.

After the application is completed, it must be signed and notarized prior to its submission, and returned with the following: $20.00 fee (non-refundable) by Certified Check or Money Order made payable to the City of Beachwood (NO CASH, NO PERSONAL CHECKS) copy of valid Ohio Driver’s License and it must be presented for verification of identity at time application is returned copy of high school diploma, transcript from high school which verifies graduation, or G.E.D. certificate copies of college transcripts - only if an Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree has been attained copy of certificate showing successful completion of the Police Standardized Physical Agility / Fitness Test offered by Cuyahoga Community College (CCC). This must be submitted at time of application. copies of O.P.O.T.A. training certificates (if applicable)

Qualifications needed to become a Beachwood Police Officer: Be at least 21 years old at time of application and be appointed prior to your 35th birthday Be a U.S. Citizen Have no felony convictions and possess a valid Ohio driver’s license Be a high school graduate or have a GED certificate Successfully complete all phases of the testing and selection process Rev. 05.08.12

Entrance exams are controlled by the Beachwood Civil Service Commission. All tests will be advertised in local newspapers. If you have any further questions regarding this test announcement or a career with the Beachwood Police Department, contact one of the department’s recruiters at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 216.464.2343.

NOTICE: In its application, hiring and employment procedures the City of Beachwood intends to comply fully with all applicable local, state and federal requirements pertaining to equal employment opportunity, and does not intend to discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, age or ancestry. The purpose of the City’s application, examination and hiring process is to elicit job-related information.
A pre-determined number of applicants who successfully pass the written examination will be scheduled for a psychological test and interview. Those applicants who complete the psychological test and interview will be scheduled for interviews with the Civil Service Commission and the chief of police (or his designee). The Civil Service Commission shall then certify a ranked eligibility list of applicants.

The police department shall then schedule a polygraph and/or voice stress analysis examination for a pre-determined number of applicants from the certified eligibility list, as well as conduct a complete background investigation of same. An interview with the Mayor shall follow these activities.
Passage of physical, medical and vision examinations as related to the requirements of the position, and the Police and Firemen’s Disability and Pension Fund, shall be required after a conditional offer of employment is made to the applicant.

The Beachwood Police Department has 44 full-time officers, led by Police Chief Mark Sechrist. The starting salary for an officer hired in 2012 will be approximately $61,400 per year. The base pay for that officer after two years with the department will be at least $74,800. The department does not employ part time patrol officers.

The Police Department has many specialized units including: Traffic Bureau, Detective Bureau, Emergency Service Team (SWAT), Crime Scene Investigative Unit, Bicycle Patrol Officers, and Field Training Officers.

The Beachwood Police Department also offers a benefit program that includes: Paid Health Care Insurance, Paid Vacation, Paid Holidays, Longevity Program, Tuition Reimbursement, Uniform Allowance, Retirement Plan, an Optional Deferred Compensation Program, and Introduction Into a Union.
Some of the duties and responsibilities of a patrol officer include protecting the lives and property of the residents, businesses, and visitors of Beachwood; enforcing laws and ordinances; patrolling the city and responding to calls for assistance; doing preliminary investigation of incidents; investigating traffic crashes; traffic enforcement; and completing reports and other required paperwork.


Thank you to our 2012 Hole Sponsors & Contributors

American Income Life
Jeff Pedicino, Executive Director
Merrill Lynch, Pat Petsche
Cleveland Area Golden Gloves
Sam Fiorentino & Associates
Ciuni & Panichi
Cleveland Bakers’ Local No 19
Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society
Guardian Protection
Badges Plus
Blue Line Financial Services
Suburban Press
George Argie
Midwest Publishing
Allotta, Farley and Widman
Friends of Tom Patton
California Casualty
Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association
Independent Insurance Agency
Ron Campbell – Commence Firearms
Outback Steak House
North Coast Awards
Retired Irish Police Society
Dave & Busters
Tom Austin, Executive Secretary


Dan Otto Memorium

The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office continues to mourn the loss of a member of its family. In June, Detective Dan Otto was killed in a single vehicle crash while vacationing with his family in California

Otto, 38, of Columbus, joined the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy in 1998. In the early 2000s, he was reassigned to the Detective Division where he handled major crimes. Otto made a name for himself as a detective when he was assigned to investigate the 2002 homicides of Jill Hand and Walter Welch. Hand’s husband was found guilty of both murders. Dave Yost, who was serving as Delaware County Prosecutor at the time, called Detective Otto, “a tireless investigator, with an excellent memory.” Yost referred to Otto as “the glue that put all the pieces together.”

Otto was also actively involved in the homicide investigation of Genoa Township mother Lisa Gross, who was found dead in the bathtub of her home in 2001. Last year, he was able to identify James Henry Evans II as the suspect from a bank robbery in the county, which led to the suspect’s arrest and conviction of multiple bank robberies in the state of Ohio.

Detective Otto was an excellent investigator who never gave up on a case. Sheriff Martin “Dan was that go-to investigator. If you needed something done and wanted it done right – you called Dan. He was an asset to the Detective Division and to the Sheriff’s Office as a whole. It was evident Dan loved his job, but more than that, he loved his son. He was a devoted father and friend to many; he will be missed by all who knew him.”  

A large memorial service was held in Dan’s honor at Genoa Baptist Church in Westerville, Ohio. Hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the state attended the service and the burial, which was held at Red Bank Cemetery in Genoa Township.


Having Weapons Under Disability: Separating Fact from Fiction

A police officer initiates a traffic stop on a car with several individuals inside. Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer sees a gun sitting in plain view on the center console. The officer immediately pulls all individuals out of the car.

The officer discovers that the driver has a warrant out of municipal court for failure to pay court costs on a misdemeanor assault case. The front seat passenger has prior convictions for possession of marijuana, Vicodin and drug paraphernalia, as well as a resisting arrest conviction. One of the rear passengers has prior felony convictions for grand theft, tampering with evidence and forgery.

The officer charges all three individuals with Having Weapons Under Disability. However, he is stunned to find out that all three charges were no billed at grand jury.  

What qualifies as a “disability” for purposes of a Weapons Under Disability charge can sometimes be confusing. Laws change, and how those laws are interpreted by the courts is constantly evolving. There are five basic “disabilities” under Ohio law, and reviewing them can help all police officers separate the myths from the facts. Those five disabilities are:

1.    A prior felony drug offense
This is one of the most common disabilities, and also one of the most misinterpreted. Before House Bill 86 was enacted, any drug offense qualified, including misdemeanors. However, only felony drug offenses now qualify. A juvenile offense also counts.

2.    A prior felony offense of violence
Murder, rape, felonious assault, aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, felony domestic violence and robbery are the most common. The statute lists many crimes that are considered felony offenses of violence, so when in doubt, contact my office or your police legal advisor. As with the drug offenses, a juvenile offense also counts.

3.    Fugitive from justice
Most police officers assume that anyone with a warrant qualifies. This is not necessarily true. Before charging under this section, you should first determine if the suspect knew he had a warrant (a necessary requirement) and also whether that suspect was actively avoiding capture by law enforcement. This section would be difficult to prove if the suspect was simply hanging out at home or in his own neighborhood, or if he was otherwise simply going about his normal business.

4.    Drug dependent, in danger of drug dependence or alcoholic
This section is rarely used for a disability, but can still be used with the proper proof. If a suspect is actively in drug treatment or was recently released from a drug diversion program, this section may apply.

5.    Adjudication of mental incompetence or mental illness
This section is also rarely used, and should not be charged without consulting with the county Prosecutor’s Office or your department’s legal advisor. There would need to be documented proof of a serious mental illness for this to apply.  

Another thing to remember, especially when looking at prior convictions as a source of disability, is whether there truly was a criminal conviction in the first place. Sometimes an arrest report, LEADS or other computer check will show an arrest but not a conviction. For example, if the arrest was for a felony drug offense but the suspect pled to a reduced misdemeanor charge, that would not qualify as a disability. Only looking at the court’s original journal entry can confirm a prior conviction.  

When in doubt, contact the county Prosecutor’s Office or your police legal advisor. As always, knowing what separates fact from speculation when it comes to the law and how it is interpreted can increase the chances of a successful prosecution.  

This article is not to be considered legal advice. Please consult your police legal advisor regarding any legal issue.

Sherri Bevan Walsh
Summit County Prosecuting Attorney


Moving Past The Past Practice Misconception

Over the years I have noticed many misconceptions that OPBA members possess in the area of labor law.  Those misconceptions range from “the law provides us with guaranteed breaks” to “HIPPA prevents my employer from inquiring about my illness” to “we’ve always done it that way so it’s a past practice.”    
Each of these misconceptions has a basis for belief but none are actually true.  In this article I examine and discuss the real law and meaning of the popular term “past practice”.

Past practice is a term of art that arises when a party to a collective bargaining agreement attempts to enforce a “practice” regarding a matter that is not included in the written contract.  It is also asserted in order to assist in the actual interpretation of a confusing written term of a contract.  And finally, past practice is sometimes cited to support a claim that a “clear” term of the written contract has been “amended” by mutual agreement as evidenced by the parties’ past practice.

Evidence Required To Establish A Past Practice

Most arbitrators have recognized that for a past practice to be established that certain elements must be proven  in regard to the practice.  The practice must be unequivocal; clearly understood and acted upon; and readily ascertainable over a reasonable period of time as a fixed, and established practice accepted by both parties.

A couple of understandable ways that arbitrators have defined a past practice are: “a pattern of conduct which appears with such frequency that the parties understand that it is the accepted way of doing something”; “a practice exists when a certain result has been utilized in repetitive and identical circumstances”; “a practice is established if, when one circumstance occurs, it is consistently treated in a certain way”. To constitute a past practice, the occurrence need not be daily or weekly, or even yearly, but when it happens, a given response to that occurrence must always follow.

Past Practice When The Contract Is Silent

In cases where the labor contract is completely silent with respect to a given activity, the presence of a well-established practice may constitute an “implied” term of the contract.  In law, an implied term of a contract is as enforceable as a written term.
In labor law, though, the enforcement of an implied term often depends on whether the term involves methods of operation and/or direction of the workforce or whether it involves a benefit of personal value to the employees.  Generally, past practices involving a benefit are permitted to become an implied term while practices involving the exercise of management rights are not.

As we all know, arbitrators have permitted wide authority in management to control methods of operation and to direct the work force, including the right without penalty to make changes if the changes do not violate some right of the employees granted elsewhere by the written contract.  As such, arbitration case law contains many examples of a past practice not becoming an implied term sufficient enough to prevent management from: changing work schedules or reassigning work or determining the number of workers or eliminating a job and/osr adding or eliminating job duties within reasonable limits.  The rationale behind these cases is that if management really intended to concede its management rights, then it would do so expressly in writing, and not implicitly.

An illustration of this outcome would be a situation where management has retained its  right to schedule and pursuant to that right management has utilized fixed shifts for several years.  Despite this history the parties have not referenced such a practice anywhere in their labor contract.  When the employer suddenly decides to implement rotating shifts instead, most employees think that the long standing  past practice of utilizing fixed shifts will prevail.  Uh, no; the contract is silent and the implied term we think exists will not be enforced because a management right relating to running the operation is involved.

In contrast to the freedom management is afforded regarding its basic functions, arbitrators often rule that past practice matters involving “a benefit of peculiar personal value to the employees” can be implied enough to become enforceable.  Because these matters generally do not involve management rights and because a long standing but unwritten benefit is at stake, arbitrators have found the provision of the benefit to be implied. 

Arbitrators reason that an employer would not ever provide something of value to its employees, regularly and routinely, unless it intended to do so.  Wash-up periods, lunch period arrangements, paid work breaks, free coffee or free meals, payment of employee’s salary during workers’ compensation waiting period, release time for collective bargaining, allowances and maternity leaves of absence are all examples of a “benefit of a peculiar value” that arbitrators have permitted to become implied terms of a contract.

A great example of a past practice becoming an implied term of the contract involves the giving/taking of a promotional test in 24/7 operation like a police department.  In this instance there will always be candidates taking the exam while they are on duty and other candidates taking the exam while they are on their off time.  Yet rarely is there a contract term that addresses this activity.

In most cases involving this activity the parties have, knowingly or not, developed a past practice of releasing working candidates from duty and/or compensating off duty candidates for attending.  Even though this may happen once every three (3) years, it happens the same way each time. Should the employer ever decide to terminate such a practice and refuse to pay those taking the test while off duty, it will probably be on the losing end of an implied term past practice case.

Past Practice Used To Interpret A Contract Term

The most common use of a past practice is for the interpretation of ambiguous or unclear contract language.  This makes sense because unclear language can best be defined or explained by the parties’ “intent” in agreeing to and constructing the contract’s language. And a party’s intent is most often and best defined in its actions.  Those actions are demonstrated and measured through the “practice and custom of the parties” in relation to the unclear term.  Thus the parties’ past practice often provides the real meaning to an unclear contract term.

The general attitude of arbitrators is that they give great weight to a past practice when interpreting unclear language.  They routinely rule that where a practice has established a meaning for language in a contract, the language will be “presumed” to have the meaning given it by that practice.
A past practice used to interpret an ambiguous term does not have to be so “frequent and regular and repetitious.”  For purposes of interpreting ambiguous language, relatively few past instances have been required to establish a binding practice.  This is especially so when the incidents giving rise to the issue rarely occur.  So long as the parties’ practice is consistent upon each infrequent occurrence, it still rates as sufficient to define the ambiguous term.

Past Practice Used To Permit Variances From Clear Contract Language

While past practice is frequently used to establish the intent of contract language that is subject to different interpretations, it rarely can be used to alter the meaning of a clear and unambiguous term.  In almost every instance the clear language is enforced.  This is so even where an arbitrator overwhelmingly believes that, on the basis of fairness, the past practice should have prevailed.

Here are some illustrative arbitration holdings standing for the principle that clear language always trumps a past practice:  “Where a conflict exists between the clear and unambiguous language of the contract and a long standing past practice, the Arbitrator is required to follow the language of the contract”; “While the Arbitrator recognizes that it is difficult to accept the overturn of a fifteen (15) year past practice, the Arbitrator is required to do so in light of the clear and certain language”;  “Past practice” is a useful means of ascertaining intention in case of ambiguity or indefiniteness, but no matter how well established a practice may be, it is unavailing to modify a clear promise.” 

A good example of this principle involves the specific time limits set forth in a grievance procedure that also includes a provision requiring the parties to “strictly adhere” to such time limits.  Even though the parties may have established a past practice of routinely ignoring and/or relaxing those specified time limits, should one or the other insist that one acted untimely, that insistence will prevail.  This is because of the contract’s clear language requiring strict compliance.

Any past practice that the parties have mutually followed or that have been enforced by an arbitrator can ultimately be broken and discontinued.  This can only occur, though, upon the expiration of the contract, during the collective bargaining process.  At the table the party who wants to terminate the practice simply declares that the practice will no longer be recognized, thus allowing or forcing the other party to regain (or not) the practice through the bargaining process.
As the foregoing indicates, what OPBA members often think of as a past practice is probably still a past practice.  It is wrong, however, to think that every past practice can be made to be binding as if it was a written contract term.  For further guidance and explanation of the law of past practice, consult your OPBA Representative.    


Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund

In the next month or two (depending on when you receive this article) will determine the direction of our pension fund.  Although strong we are in need of changes.  Recently we have seen the Senate pass bill 340 through swiftly expecting the House to follow.  Since that time we have seen the same dog and pony show the legislature continuously portrays while delaying the vote on important legislature.  Regardless of how we feel about the bill knowing nothing is perfect, reform is needed.  All believe and have relayed how certain parts of the bill are unfair but are willing to accept most of it; knowing that something needs to be done.
There have been some unique features implemented into SB 340 but most items included come from the initial proposals from 2011 recommendations of OP&F Board of Trustees.  One item added to the bill will give the board more authority to implement changes without legislative approval for items such as age of retirement and employee contributions.  It is important to remember that the board did not ask for this implementation and that whatever the sentiment is; the legislature is on the track to “pass the buck” and decision onto the fund.  In our best analysis they do not want to be responsible for decisions regarding our fund in the future. 

While all of these items will create change we are still attempting to implement items administratively to do our best to preserve the best we can for our fund.  We are studying the implementation of W2 reporting and calculating system as opposed to the current system we use.  This system would potentially include items that are now not currently added into our pensionable wages.  It is currently used by the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and appears favorable for the members.  We are working constantly to improve the administrative rules for off-duty non-catastrophic disability awards.  These “off-duty” awards represent over 20% of all disability awards by the fund.  We have had other discussions about potential member favorable changes and keep in mind always that we would consider restoring benefits should economic conditions change.
I promise to keep the membership informed and offer your voice to our board should you have a concerns, questions or comments.  Although we do not know if the bill will pass or when it will be voted on; we do know that your fund will remain strong and we will do all we can to preserve it for yourself and future retirees.  I appreciate your support and please direct any questions or comments you have to me via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Take care and be safe.

Scott Huff
Trustee for the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund