The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Put-in-Bay’s police chief has been placed on paid administrative leave days after the Ohio Attorney General’s Office filed four charges against him, including one for threatening one of his officers with a gun.

The most serious charges claim Chief Robert “Ric” Lampela, 53, put a gun to the head of one of his officers in 2012 and covered up reports of an alleged sexual assault of a police cadet in 2003. He faces a single charge of aggravated menacing, one count of dereliction of duty and two counts of falsification. The charges are misdemeanors, punishable by up to six months in jail and $1,000 fines.

Lampela is expected to appear March 25 in Ottawa County Municipal Court.

The state attorney’s office filed the charges Friday. On Monday, Put-in-Bay Mayor Margaret Scarpelli issued a notification that Lampela had been placed on paid administrative leave indefinitely.

Put-in-Bay Village Council will meet Monday and the police department will be discussed. But who is running the island police department presently is unclear.

“I have no idea who is in charge,” said Councilman Jeff Koehler, who was not on the island when the news broke. “The two officers there are relatively new and they’re not in a position to be chief.”

The Lake Township trustees Tuesday signed a contract for dispatching service with the Wood County Sheriff’s Department but not before seeking assurances from Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn the transition to having his department handle calls wouldn’t be marred by delays in requests for fire and emergency medical service.

The township and Village of Walbridge have separate police departments but are both covered by the township’s EMS and fire department.

Village officials opted to end a dispatching agreement with the township in favor of a contract with the sheriff’s department that will go into effect later this month. The township’s agreement with the county won’t go into effect until June 9.

The trustees expressed concerns about fire and EMS calls – especially those emanating from land line phones – which the sheriff will have to transfer back to the township department.

Trustee Melanie Bowen noted that “seconds count” in the event of medical emergencies such as heart attacks.

Emergency calls from cell phones already are automatically routed to the county’s dispatching office and Sheriff Wasylyshyn said about 55 percent of all calls are from cell phones – a trend that continues to increase.

Tiger Ridge Exotics supporters say testimony from an Ohio Department of Agriculture worker has them fearing that the agency is not taking good care of the 11 animals it seized.

Employing a search and seizure warrant, ODA officials removed six tigers, a lion, black leopard, liger, bobcat, cougar and Kodiak bear from Tiger Ridge on a cold Wednesday afternoon in late January.

The animals from the Stony Ridge exotic animal shelter remain at the holding facility until appeals are heard from 71-year-old owner Kenny Hetrick and his Toledo attorney, Karen A. Novak.

In Columbus, administrative hearings over the search and seizure finished last week and this week begins a hearing over the Hetrick’s appeal permitting for exotic animals, which was denied by the state. Last week in Bowling Green Wood County Common Pleas Court, Judge Kelsey Reeves ruled against the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s filing requesting the court to dismiss a lawsuit brought on by Hetrick.

Last Monday, an ODA worker testified that a cougar, Cindy, was bleeding when it arrived at the ODA facility in Reynoldsburg. The ODA acknowledged that the cougar had sore paws and they had put down rubber mats to help them heal, but ODA Communications Director Erica M. Hawkins said the worker exaggerated its testimony.

Just days after rejecting a petition for a proposed amendment to the state constitution to legalize marijuana, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected a similar petition from another group.

Last Monday, DeWine rejected the petition from the group, Responsible Ohio, entitled “Medical Marijuana and Personal Use Amendment” that would have added a section to the constitution to allow adults age 21 and older to grow marijuana at home.

He found two defects in the summary language of the group’s petition:

• The summary language omits that the proposed amendment permits the sharing of specified amounts of marijuana between adults 21 years old and older.

• The summary language does not accurately reflect the manner in which proposed taxes would be distributed.

“After reviewing the submission, I conclude that I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful statement of the proposed amendment,” DeWine said in a letter to the petitioners.

Oregon council on Monday approved the purchase of four new vehicles for $89,252 from Lebanon Ford, of Lebanon, Ohio for the police division.

The cost of the new 2016 Ford Utility police interceptor vehicles, originally priced at $110,152, was reduced because of a trade-in credit of $20,900.

Lebanon Ford provided the lowest quote for the new vehicles, and a higher trade-in credit, than Mathews Ford, Oregon. Mathews submitted a quote of $119,324, with a trade in-credit of $17,000, for a total cost of $102,324.

Police Chief Mike Navarre said the transition from the sedan to the SUV Ford “provides a lot of advantages for our officers.”

He said the Ford Utility police interceptor is widely used.

“It’s the most popular police vehicle used right now in the U.S.,” he said.

Navarre said Mathews Ford was aware of the state contract through the Cooperative Purchasing program, but bid much higher.

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