Chief Chapa

Bryan Police Chief Chris Chapa smiles for a photo outside the police station in September 2020.

This story has been edited to correct an error. The case has been forwarded to the City of Bowling Green Prosecutor's Office, not the City of Bryan Prosecutor's Office. The Bryan Times was provided incorrect information.

Authorities in Wood County said they aren’t pursuing felony charges against Bryan Police Chief Chris Chapa.

Chapa has been on paid administrative leave since Aug. 6 after former Assistant Chief Gary Mohre told city council that following a heated argument between the two, the chief followed him home from work and entered his home even after he repeatedly requested that Chapa leave his property.

Mohre brought a formal complaint to the Wood County Sheriff’s Office, which completed an investigation and turned its findings over to the county prosecutor’s office. Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson said on Tuesday his office determined it would not bring the case to a grand jury and had forwarded its findings to the City of Bowling Green Prosecutor’s Office. He declined any further comment on the case.

Following the incident at his home, Mohre sought to resign from the Bryan Police Department. After Council President Mary Leatherman asked for the reason behind his resignation during a public session Aug. 2, Mohre spoke about the incident, as well as what he perceived as belittling and harassing comments from Chapa toward him over the course of his employment with BPD, which began in January.

At the Aug. 2 council meeting, Chapa didn’t deny the basic elements of the incident at Mohre’s home but countered that his assistant chief had been standoffish and insubordinate over the course of his employment.

Council ultimately voted to deny Mohre’s request for resignation with some members telling the two men to improve their working relationship. Both men were placed on paid leave later that week after the city hired the New Albany-based firm of Fishel, Downey, Albrecht and Riepenhoff (which had been hired in 2019 by the city to work as outside counsel) to investigate the matter.

On Sept. 7, following a closed, executive session of city council, Mohre was removed from employment. In a letter sent to The Bryan Times following the meeting, Mayor Carrie Schlade alleged incompetency, insubordination and destruction of public records on the part of Mohre.

In response, Mohre, a veteran law enforcement officer with more than four decades of experience, said he was hired to work a first-shift, Monday-to-Friday administrative position, not road patrol, to which he was assigned.

Mohre also said the public records the city alleged he destroyed were personal messages on his phone and Facebook that he deleted.

Chapa’s current salary is $73,374.63, meaning that, as of Wednesday, he’s earned approximately $14,875.95 while on paid administrative leave.

Earlier this month council approved a promotion in pay and vacation time for Police Captain Greg Ruskey, who remains in charge of the department.

As of last week, the city had received one invoice paid to Fishel, Downey, Albrecht and Riepenhoff, for $828.75, for work completed between Aug. 9-31, Schlade said in response to an email seeking details regarding the financial cost of the investigation. Although she said their investigation was still ongoing as of that time.

Schlade said she reached out to the firm after the Aug. 2 council meeting, when council members Mary Leatherman and Judy Yahraus requested an independent investigation into the matter.

Reached by phone on Tuesday, Leatherman, who is council president, declined to comment in any way on the matter. Council member Jim Kozumplik said council had held off on making any decision on Chapa’s future with the BPD until Wood County had completed its investigation.

After receiving word that Wood County would not pursue felony charges against Chapa, The Times reached out to Schlade for comment. She had not responded as of press deadline.

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