BY EARNEST WINSTON
The Cincinnati Enquirer
NEWPORT -- A veteran Newport police officer has been suspended without pay, but city officials aren't talking about it.
Police Chief Thomas Fromme declined Thursday to discuss why he suspended Lt. Steven Foster, a 16-year member of the department. "I suspended him. I won't comment on the charges," said Chief Fromme, who also declined to say when the suspension was effective. As for his reasons for not talking about specifics of the case, the chief cited Kentucky statutes that state he cannot comment on alleged violations of an officer or on any pending charges until a decision has been reached on the charges.
Contacted at his Bellevue home, Lt. Foster also declined to comment.
City Clerk Frank Peluso, speaking on behalf of City Manager James Parsons who was out of the office Thursday, likewise declined to discuss the suspension. Lt. Foster's suspension will last at least until a disciplinary hearing by the Newport City Commission. A date has not been set.
Chief Fromme declined to say whether Lt. Foster's suspension is related to an incident that began in December when the officer ordered a 35-mph sign posted on Ky. 9, to clamp down on speeders. Lt. Foster's actions resulted in 200 motorists being ticketed and paying fines.
Campbell District Judge Karen Thomas later ruled the posted 35-mph speed limit on northbound Ky. 9 near Overlook Drive was incorrect and ordered that drivers who were ticketed have their records cleared and fines refunded, which has since been done.
The state had designated the speed limit as 45 mph in 1996.
Lt. Foster is a member of Newport's Administration Division, which ensures that the overall operation and needs of the department are met.