Officer resigns after party

GIRARD – A Girard police officer whose house was host to underage drinking parties has resigned amid claims of a possible violation of an agreement with the city.

Officer Larry Neely signed a “last chance agreement” with city officials in March following an internal affairs investigation which showed he was aware that his Mosier road home was host to teens allegedly drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.

As part of the agreement to stay on with the department, Neely took a 20-day suspension, and also concurred that any further infractions would result in his termination.

Girard Mayor James Melfi said Tuesday that the department was investigating a possible situation involving Neely. He did not provide details of the situation.

Later Tuesday afternoon, Melfi confirmed to the Tribune Chronicle that Neely had submitted his resignation in a letter to the department, citing “personal reasons.”

Neely, 39, was cleared of criminal charges following the investigation into the parties at his house after police raided a party at his Mosier Road home on Feb. 8. Several teens, ages 17 and 18, faced misdemeanor charges, and Neely was placed on paid leave.

Internally he was accused of misfeasance, nonfeasance, dereliction of duty and failure to follow police department work rules – all of which he has been disciplined for in the past, according to police Chief Jeff Palmer.

In March, Melfi announced the 20-day suspension and last-chance agreement.

“He admitted that the incident and circumstances did occur,” Melfi said on March 6. ”That does not mean he knew there was underage drinking or anything else illegal going on at the time. But this isn’t just about that one party last month or other parties that might have taken place at his home. But simply knowing that his kids had a party at his home while he was on duty is not enough for dismissal. This is about a pattern of behavior. This incident has been added to past problems.”

City personnel records show that Neely, who was hired almost six years ago, has an extensive disciplinary history with the city police department. Officials said most of the problems have been related to job performance issues dating back to 2009.