A new memo has surfaced, shedding some disturbing light on the ongoing battle pitting local law enforcement and county sheriffs against Governor Kasich and his hand-picked leadership at the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Highway Patrol.
According to the memo, sent by Highway Patrol Lieutenant Mark Leach on December 31st, 2013, “The Highway Patrol will no longer redirect service calls to any Sheriffs Office.” “If the Division receives a call for service and has no units available to handle the call then a neighboring post will be dispatched to handle the incident,” writes Leach in the memo. He also indicates this is a “division wide directive.”
Leach is the commander of Post 59 in Mt. Gilead. The memo was sent to “Post 59 Supervisors”.
Post 59, shown on the map below, covers all of Morrow and Knox County. The closest post, in Mansfield, is 20 minutes away. If this policy was actually implemented and followed, response times for accidents or other incidents could end up being extremely and unnecessarily long.
Disagreements between county Sheriffs and the patrol’s leadership under Kasich have intensified in recent months.
In January, Republican Sheriff Toby Spencer of Darke County wrote a letter to Kasich’s Director of Public Safety, John Born, expressing concerns over an anti-drug program that would bring troopers from the Ohio Highway Patrol into high school classrooms. “The state of Ohio and Gov. Kasich have steadily ripped away the funding from local governments, only to boast and boost the antics of state agencies, such as your recent initiative to infiltrate our school systems with a drug prevention program,” Spencer wrote.
Spencer’s criticisms are shared by many in county and local law enforcement who saw their own budgets slashed after Kasich cut hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to local governments, while Kasich and his public safety leaders have worked to maintain funding and expand the reach of the Highway Patrol.
A copy of the Mr. Gilead memo is included below.