By Charles Prince
BUCKEYE LAKE – Former Buckeye Lake Police Chief James Hanzey was indicted July 18, by a Licking County Grand Jury on two counts of Unauthorized Use of Property ORC 2913.04(C).
Hanzey was fired May 8, 2018, after five council members agreed that he should be removed from office after the five found he was insubordinate, acted inefficiently in the fulfillment of his duties as Chief, and neglected his duties as Chief. The five were Council President Kitty Zwissler and council members Bill French, John Geiger, Doug Poorman DVM and Tom Wolfe. Four of the five – minus Poorman – also found that Hanzey acted incompetently in the fulfillment of his duties as Chief and committed Misfeasance in the fulfillment of his duties as Chief. Council members Robert Masone MD and Arletta Ruton did not believe that Hanzey committed any of the nine listed offenses summarized by the hearing officer Newark attorney W. Prentice Snow.
Mayor Peggy A. Wells filed 22 administrative counts against Hanzey following an internal affairs investigation conducted by the Pataskala Division of Police. That investigation was prompted by a March 10, 2018, incident at a Leisure Village home. Hanzey had called Wells that afternoon, telling her he had been released from the hospital after undergoing a procedure to remove his ring finger on his right hand. Hanzey told her he had a doctor’s release to return for light duty on March 12. Wells told Hanzey not to report to duty until she had seen the release and consulted with the village solicitor.
Wells later wrote to Hanzey, “Notwithstanding this conversation, you responded to a call in Leisure Village the evening of March 10. You decided to respond to this call despite not having delivered your doctor’s release and despite the fact that responding to a reported violent felony is far from “light duty.” I have been made aware that, while responding to this call, you accidentally discharged a firearm inside a private dwelling.”
The indictment’s first count covers the time period January 19, 2016, through June 14, 2017, stating the defendant “did knowingly gain access to, attempt to gain access to, cause access to be granted to, or disseminate information gained from access to the law enforcement automated database system created pursuant to Section 5503.10 of the Revised Code without the consent of, or beyond the scope of the express or implied consent of, the chair of the law enforcement automated data system steering committee…” The violation is a felony of the fifth degree.
The second count is for the same violation during the time period January 19, 2017, through June 14, 2017.
If convicted of a felony of the fifth degree, Hanzey could be sentenced to a definite prison term of six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, or twelve months and fined up to $2,500. His initial bond hearing is set for 9 a.m. on Tuesday, August 6.