Off-duty officer accused of calling in false alarm

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- A police narcotics officer partying with other investigators called police -- giving a false name and false location -- and told a dispatcher that a man next to a gold Cadillac had a gun, a tape of the June 24 call indicates.

The man near the Cadillac, Joseph Dials, "was very cooperative, and kind of confused about what was going on," Sgt. Joan L. Slabaugh told a jury on Nov. 28. She was the first officer to respond.

Dials told her a man in a window above Barrister Hall, 560 S. High St., had made obscene gestures at him and was using a cell phone shortly before she arrived.

"Throughout my conversation with Mr. Dials, I saw some white males in the bar windows looking at us, pointing at us, sometimes laughing," Slabaugh said.

Dials testified that he was parked across the street from the party, waiting to exchange the Cadillac for a new car he'd bought. He said the call was a bad joke by detective Charles "C.R." Joyce, whom he didn't know.

Joyce is charged with turning in a false alarm, a misdemeanor. He is being tried in the court of Municipal Judge Steven B. Hayes.

Joyce was attending a police officer's retirement party and was right to call when his "gut instincts" told him the man by the car was acting suspiciously, said his attorney, William Meeks. Meeks accused Dials of checking out detectives who were investigating him on suspicion of drug trafficking.

Police found no gun; witnesses in the bar said they never saw one.

Detective Jim Day of the narcotics squad testified that he talked to Slabaugh when she went to the bar to investigate the call.

After she left, Joyce approached him and "He asked what she'd said and I told him," Day said.

Joyce didn't say anything but, because of his attitude, "I made the comment, 'Tell me that that didn't happen,' " Day said.

" 'Well, those kinds of calls get called in every day,' " he said.

"I said, 'Don't call in false gun runs.' "

Day testified that as he left the party, Dials was entering the bar. Day steered him outside, he said, fearing an ugly confrontation in which police officers would stick up for one of their own.

Outside, "I apologized to him and said we'd get on this guy for what he did, " Day said.

Day said he'd seen Dials from the party and didn't consider him suspicious, but acknowledged he hadn't watched him as closely as Joyce had.

Outside the courtroom, Dials said Meeks and his partner Sam Shamansky are trying to smear him by linking him to a former tenant and friend who is serving 10 years in prison for drug offenses.

He is suing the city over the incident.

Meeks told the jury that Joyce used a false name because he didn't want street police to overreact to a call placed by a fellow officer.

The prosecution is expected to finish its case and the defense to begin its today.

Police Officer 911 Tape At Heart Of False-Alarm Case Against Police Officer
Kevin Mayhood, Dispatch Staff Reporter
November 29, 2000, Wednesday
Copyright 2000 The Columbus Dispatch
The Columbus Dispatch
November 29, 2000, Wednesday
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