It’s only common sense that the presence of police on patrol in any community is a deterrent to crimes such as burglaries, home invasions, vehicle break-ins, vandalism, etc. Here in the Village of Buckeye Lake you won’t see any of those types of crimes as long as you’re at the corner of Mill Dam and Hunt’s Landing roads! You also won’t find any homes or businesses there, but t police sit there, sometimes in the dark, facing the opposite direction of oncoming traffic, watching a stop sign that some of the officers have run themselves!
It is a little disconcerting to call the sheriff’s department to report a crime in progress only to be told there are no Buckeye Lake Police officers on duty. And it’s very misleading when the village website says our police are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
A recent public records request from the Buckeye Lake Police Department produced the names of ten current officers. But a request from the Ohio Police Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) reveals that Buckeye Lake has eleven police officers. They are Tedra Bare, James Bartoe, Adrian Davis, Jeffrey Haas, James Hanzey, Jeremy Justice, Cassandra Meinert, Stephen Ritter II, Jason Schilling, Jeffrey Vermaaten and Dorie Vermillion.
OPOTA lists 10 of Buckeye Lake’s police officers as “Auxiliary” (one as “reserve/auxiliary”) although at least two of those officers are part/full time paid officers here at the lake. Police departments are required by OPOTA to turn in forms within ten days whenever there is a status change.
The details produced by a records request to the Licking County dog pound were a little upsetting. Those records involved a dog that was hit by a car in the City of Newark (don’t worry – the dog lives) late one mid December evening. A couple of federal police officers witnessed the dog get hit and immediately started making calls. Without knowing that Newark police had dispatched their humane officer/ACO, the sheriff’s department dispatched a county dog pound employee (Larry Williams) to report to the scene (10:37 p.m.). Dog pound employee Williams was told by the sheriff’s department to disregard (at 10:49 p.m.) as soon as they realized the Newark Humane Officer/ACO had already been on the scene and was now on the way to the veterinarian with the dog. (I don’t believe that Williams had ever left his home.)
Williams’ time line shows that he spent several minutes making calls after he was disregarded and then, a little over AN HOUR later (12:02 a.m.), the pound employee shows up at the veterinarian’s office.
He then notes at 12:05 a.m. that he DISREGARDED HIMSELF! Apparently being told to disregard by the SHERIFF’S OFFICE wasn’t satisfactory to this pound employee. Williams had no valid reason to do anything with this call once he had been disregarded by the Sheriff’s Office. And, although I do not yet have verification, I believe Williams received overtime for this joy ride that he went on in the county vehicle (that he gets to drive home on the county’s dime)!
To make matters worse, some of the statements in Williams’ report were less than truthful. I won’t share those details at this time (hopefully it is being investigated) but I will say that I believe Williams would have disregarded when he was told if his curiosity hadn’t been intrigued by the presence of a federal officer.
In my opinion, this is the second time (that I know of) that Williams let his interest in police business get in the way of good judgment in the workplace. The first time cost two dogs their lives. Thankfully, that was not the case this time.