WATCH: New Fairfield Police Chief Admits to Using Slur, Exposing Himself as New Officer

FAIRFIELD, Ohio – The leading candidate for a local police chief job admitted using a three-letter slur for gay men when he was a SWAT unit supervisor, then said he was only joking.

A month after his admission, he was promoted to chief.

The WCPO I-Team has uncovered more details about Chief Steve Maynard’s conduct with the Fairfield police department over the past decade and a half and how the city responded to it – including two instances when fellow officers said he exposed his penis to them in public.

The I-Team requested an interview with Maynard, but Fairfield City Manager Mark Wendling did not allow the chief to comment.

Wendling made the decision to promote Maynard, a 19-year Fairfield police veteran, from lieutenant five months ago. Maynard has been honored with major commendations, including the Police Medal for his leadership in a dangerous tactical situation.

“Steve really distinguished himself as the right candidate,” Wendling told WCPO. “He knows the department better than anyone and he has the confidence of the staff of the department.”

Before Maynard got the job, though, Wendling and Law Director John Clemons hired an attorney to do an independent investigation of Maynard. In his report, that attorney counseled Wendling to consider other factors than Maynard’s experience and standing in the department.

The “real issue” in considering Lt. Maynard is “not only in his ability to lead the department in the future but in making changes needed to clean up behavior and language that could damage the department and officers’ careers if left unchecked,” wrote attorney Douglas E. Duckett.

City Manager Wendling responded to Maynard’s admission that he used the three-letter slur by telling WCPO:

“It was more banter. He was counseled on that. He was corrected on that. He understands the error of that. He subsequently did a lot of training for the staff. We had all-day trainings for them about a month ago.”

In the investigation report, provided to Wendling a month before he promoted Maynard, Duckett doesn’t indicate how recently or how often Maynard admitted to using the slur.

But Duckett emphasized that Maynard showed “a disturbing lack of judgment and perception, at least in this area” and it is “a serious and more recent and relevant failing.”

The I-Team asked the city manager if he agreed.

I-Team: “Do you believe that this was a serious and relevant failing by Mr. Maynard?”

Wendling: “I believe it is actions that he corrected. I believe — if you read the whole report — that Mr. Duckett does say it is not fatal to his candidacy.”

Duckett actually said that Maynard should not be eliminated from becoming chief based only on two different incidents that happened more than a dozen years ago.

In those cases, Duckett concluded that Maynard showed his penis in public at the urging of other officers while they were off duty.

Maynard admitted to one incident and didn’t dispute the other.

“Chief Maynard has my full confidence,” Wendling said.

The I-Team filed a request for the Fairfield records a few weeks after Maynard became chief, but before the city provided them, Wendling sent out a news release. He emphasized the allegations against Maynard “were mostly related to off-duty actions that took place about 15 years ago.”

Wendling added that “while (Maynard) admits to immature acts as a young man, he has grown tremendously in the intervening years.”

Wendling failed to mention Maynard admitted using the slur as a supervisor and that the attorney who conducted the investigation was very concerned about it. So the I-Team asked Wendling about the news release.

I-Team: “That is not what your news release characterized.”

Wendling: “Is there a question there?”

I-Team: “Yeah.”

Wendling: “What is your question?”

I-Team: “Why didn’t your news release more accurately reflect the findings of Mr. Duckett in this investigative report?”

Wendling: “As I said, Craig, Steve has gone through extensive training. He understands that his use of the word may have been offensive to some. He did not intend it to be offensive.”

In the news release, Wendling also failed to mention that Duckett concluded that Maynard made an inappropriate sexually suggestive remark a few years ago. It happened during a meeting about discipline for a Fairfield officer who had made inappropriate remarks.

I-Team: “Do you believe you were up front and transparent with the public in the way you characterized this investigation of the chief?”

Wendling: “I believe we gave the public the information they needed to know.”

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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