EATON — Richard Dougherty spoke during the Preble County Commissioners’ meeting on Monday, Jan. 13, sharing his complaints regarding the internal investigation at the Preble County Sheriff’s Office.
Dougherty previously claimed, while he was in custody at the Preble County Jail, officers forcefully stripped and “touched” him after he asked them not to. However, an internal investigation was concluded by the Preble County Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 10. That investigation found Sheriff’s Office staff acted appropriately and there were no violations of policy or Ohio minimum jail standards.
At press time, Sheriff Mike Simpson said, “We take any allegation from a citizen that we have acted inappropriately very serious. A complete and thorough investigation was completed by administration level employees. We have found that our staff acted appropriately and did not violate any policy.”
During the Preble County Commissioners’ meeting on Monday, Jan. 13, Dougherty spoke on public record regarding that report and any recording that may have been taken of the incident in question.
“They found that it was unfounded. In all the investigation, they mentioned nothing about cameras. Aren’t there cameras in that state of the art facility? There is a big, main room with a desk in the center and it is where the prisoners come into to search them when they first come in. Aren’t there cameras in that area?” Dougherty asked.
Commissioners’ indicated there are cameras in the jail.
“Nowhere in this internal investigation they did on themselves were cameras ever mentioned, no video was ever mentioned. I was told by Sheriff Mike Simpson, Major Miller, and Spitler that there are no cameras in that facility,” Dougherty said. “They have that recorded — they sent it to me on the phone. I would like that addressed, I’m not going to let that go. I’m going to go get me an attorney. I didn’t want to do that.”
He added, if there are not cameras in the jail, there should be.
Commissioner Denise Robertson responded, “We’ve paid a lot of money for cameras in that place.”
“They told me there are no cameras, no film, no nothing,” Dougherty said.
Commissioner Rodney Creech asked where the Sheriff’s Office said there are no cameras. Dougherty responded, in the main area prisoners are first taken into. Creech responded, in the booking area. He then clarified, there are no cameras in several parts of the jail, including the shower area.
“But there are cameras in the main area, where this [incident] took place. Out in the open, where they put you against the wall and search you there. That is where this happened,” Dougherty said. “I would like to know what happened to their film.”
He added, the commissioners should read the internal investigation report from the Sheriff’s Office regarding the incident.
“When you do, it will surprise you,” he said.
Following executive session, the commissioners discussed the Ohio Stands United resolution to make Preble County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.
“There’s a group that started in reaction to the [situation] in Virginia, where the government is really trying to limit the constitutional right of the second amendment. There is a grassroots group in Ohio that wants all of our counties to declare our county a Second Amendment Sanctuary,” Commissioner Robertson explained.
Commissioner Chris Day said, “We don’t have the authority to do that.”
“It’s a symbol, is all it is,” Creech said.
Commissioner Robertson explained, to her it’s the board “reiterating” that second amendment rights are protected in the county.
“It’s kind of like the civil rights movement. ‘All men are created equal’ should have covered the civil rights movement – there was no race or anything [mentioned]. Yet, they reiterated and [added] that you can’t discriminate based on race. It is just a reiteration of, we support the second amendment,” she said.
“I’m good with, us as a board sending [the resolution] to [Prosecutor Martin Votel] and letting him review it. I don’t know how it could be anything we shouldn’t do.”
The board agreed to send the resolution for review and to individually read the resolution for their personal review.
In other business, the board:
•Noted receipt of an amended certificate referencing Pyrmont Road bridge rehab project, in the amount of $1,203,672. 56.
•Approved a resolution referencing supplemental appropriation for the Pyrmont Rd. bridge rehab project, in the amount of $1,203,672.56.
•Noted receipt of two letters sent to the Preble County Board of Developmental Disabilities, referring to the resignation of Steven Hurd and Allie Shafer.
•Noted receipt of a letter from the engineer referencing the resignation of Ronald Garnett.
•Noted receipt of and approved a help wanted ad referencing board members for the Preble County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
•Noted receipt of and signed amendment #2 to the professional service agreement with the Simmons Group to extend completion date to June 1, 2020.
•Noted receipt of and signed the Urine Screens Agreement with Darke County Recovery Services; Job and Family Services ($1,000), Children Services ($7,000).
•Noted receipt of and signed the Janitorial Services agreement with Ledford’s Cleaning Services, $19,800, Job and Family Services.
•Noted receipt of and signed the snow removal and salt application agreement with Performance Outdoors, $8,000, Job and Family Services.
•Noted receipt of and signed the Data Maintenance Agreement with DDTI to extend an additional year for Wireless 9-1-1 in the amount of $12,000.
•Noted receipt of and signed maintenance agreement with Sound Communications to extend an additional year for Wireless 9-1-1 in the amount of $7,657.
The Preble County Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Preble County Courthouse, unless noted otherwise.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH