Springdale councilman troubled by new full-time officer's past
With the borough's police department under scrutiny over allegations of one officer's on-duty indiscretions, questions have arisen about another Springdale officer recently elevated to full-time status.
Derek Dayoub was one of two part-time officers whom borough council voted on Tuesday to bring on full time. The other was Paul Perriello, whose background was not criticized.
Springdale police Officer David E. Walton is suspended and expected to resign after allegations were made that he had sex with a woman in an unmarked police car while on duty in the borough.
Councilman John Molnar, one of two who voted against the hirings, said Thursday he has concerns about a number of incidents in Dayoub's past.
They include prior allegations — never proven — of assault, official oppression, harassment and filing false charges when Dayoub worked for Smith Township in Washington County.
Molnar said he's concerned because all it takes is a simple Internet search to bring up several news reports on the incidents in Dayoub's past.
“The concern is the amount of them. It's not like it's one or two. It seems to be a pattern,” he said. “There's been problems (with police in the borough). I don't want to go in with new officers only to have another problem exist or come up.”
Dayoub could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Gianni Floro, declined to comment.
Floro is representing Dayoub in a federal lawsuit in which Dayoub claims several people, including Washington County's chief of detectives and the county's former prosecutor, conspired to maliciously prosecute him.
Council President David Finley said he did not know anything about Dayoub's background.
“I have no idea what you're talking about,” he said to a reporter. “I know nothing. I'm the dumbest person you ever talked to.”
Molnar said council knew or should have known.
“All you have to do is Google it,” he said. “My grandkids can see it in a matter of 10 seconds.”
Councilman Jason Fry, who chairs the borough council's personnel committee, said he is not bothered by the past allegations against Dayoub.
Fry said he was satisfied when Dayoub told him the charges against him had been dropped, and that his history is now “clear.”
“Any charges that had come about, however many years ago they were, they were dropped,” Fry said. “Talking with other police officers, those kind of things occur. If charges are dropped, usually there's nothing to be concerned about.
“It's whenever they don't get dropped that there's concern.”
Fry said council did not know about the past allegations against Dayoub when he was hired part time.
Dayoub has worked part time for Springdale for about a year, and in that time has done “a fine job,” according to Fry.
“I think he's proven himself to be an asset,” Fry said. “I think he'll do a good job.”
Fry said he would have voted to hire Dayoub, but was not present when council voted on Tuesday.
Council held a budget meeting that night, then went into a closed-door executive session, when Fry said he got a message he was needed at home and left.
Fry said he didn't know council voted on hiring the officers until reading it in Wednesday's Valley News Dispatch.
“It seemed clear there wasn't going to be a vote,” he said. “Otherwise, I never would've left.”
Molnar said he is also concerned about the timing and circumstances of the hirings.
He said council just a week before had agreed to hold off on the decision, and new police Chief Julio F. Medeiros III is expected to arrive next week.
Council last week said it was going to give the new chief a voice in the hirings, although it had the final decision.
But that didn't happen.
“I felt it was kind of premature,” Molnar said. “Maybe it would be good idea to wait until the new chief gets here. Why not take his recommendation? We're just laymen here. We don't have the background. Why not play it safe?”
Molnar is also questioning if the hirings may have violated civil service regulations. Knowing that would require a legal interpretation.
“I'm checking things out. I think everybody should,” he said. “It's not a vendetta or being vindictive. I think it's just being cautious.”
Mayor Eileen Miller, who as mayor oversees the borough's police department, did not return a call for comment.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.