The Press Newspaper
A sergeant in the Village of Genoa Police Department who mocked a neighboring police chief in Facebook post cartoons has been disciplined for his actions.
Sgt. Todd Mocniak took down the Facebook posts referencing Clay Township Police Chief Terry Mitchell and had “corrective counseling” in a one-on-one session with Chief Bob Bratton in early December, the chief said. Clay Township borders part of Genoa and the departments regularly assist one another with mutual aid calls.
“He got a sit down meeting with me,” Bratton continued. “I thought it was in bad taste that he did that.”
Mocniak, a more than 10-year veteran of the department, is an avid Internet user and regularly posts items on his personal Facebook and Twitter accounts, the chief said.
However, the items in question were brought to Bratton’s attention in November by staff from another law enforcement agency. “We thought it was not in the best judgment and it was about a chief of an area police department.”
Bratton outlined the problem in a letter written Nov. 18 to Mayor Mark Williams. He noted the cartoons were standard ones that came from a pull-down menu and that users then inserted their own words to finish the cartoon. Mocniak told Bratton he considered the cartoons a joke.
But there’s a history between the two departments and its officers and the cartoons only served to open old wounds, Bratton said.
In one of the two cartoons, two children are seen running from a house with a broken window. One of the children is carrying a baseball bat. The caption states: “Jamie and Todd won’t be playing ball near the old Mitchell place again.” The second child supposedly refers to a former Clay Township police officer.
“He didn’t think anything of it. He thought it was a joke. But as a command officer he should know better … and there’s an underlying history there with the departments to consider,” Bratton said.
Bratton said he spoke to Mitchell on behalf on his department regarding the issue.