The Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority today released the following information and statements from Chief of Police Michael Reese and Director Amy McMillan following a thorough internal investigation of a recent alleged discrimination incident at Lake Erie Metropark on June 30:
Michael Reese, Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority Chief of Police:
“We moved swiftly to ensure a thorough and timely internal investigation, following up and reviewing every possible piece of available information, history and records, including eyewitness accounts. While there was no sufficient evidence to support discrimination allegations, we did find that our officer violated the Metroparks’ codes of conduct while addressing a traffic violation by a park visitor. We are doubling down on our efforts to ensure we’re always exhibiting the utmost professionalism and upholding our sworn duty to provide a safe, welcoming and family-friendly environment.”
Amy McMillan, Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority Director:
“Absolutely everyone should always feel safe and welcome in the Metroparks every day. That is the expectation Every. Day. And we’re deeply committed to ensuring that is the case for all park visitors. While this situation was beyond disappointing, as it violated our accepted codes of conduct, our team acted swiftly to launch and complete a comprehensive investigation. This is an opportunity for us all to learn as we continually work to enhance our diversity and inclusion efforts.”
- The Metroparks immediately launched a comprehensive, detailed investigation of the incident.
- The involved officer was immediately placed on administrative leave following the allegation.
- The investigation commenced right away. It was led by Lt. Dave Smith, who oversees the park’s Eastern District and has extensive experience from his military service and city policing. The Lt. does not supervise the involved officer.
- In addition to numerous witness incident interviews, the team closely reviewed the involved officer’s work history, including all past police reports and performance evaluations and interviewed former supervisors.
- Nothing supported the discrimination allegation, though evidence found the involved officer violated the Metroparks’ accepted rules of conduct.
- Actions were taken in accordance with human resources policies and the union contract.
- Earlier this year, the Metroparks hired a new Chief of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, who is focused on a variety of initiatives to ensure each park is a welcoming, inclusive place.
- Those efforts include a climate assessment survey, which was completed earlier this year, to garner personal insights on where the Metroparks currently stand and what we can do to continually improve and grow. The survey results are being used to develop training for the entire staff, including separate training for the police department.
- Anyone who ever feels unsafe or sees something that makes them feel uncomfortable in one of our Metroparks should contact us right away – Chief of Police Michael Reese, 810-494-6004 or Director Amy McMillan, 810-222-9042.
- The report is available via a FOIA request found at https://www.metroparks.com/about-us/foia/