Perkins Township fires Det. "Al" Jenkins

PERKINS TWP. A 19-year law enforcement career came to an end Tuesday when Perkins Township trustees
May 24, 2010



A 19-year law enforcement career came to an end Tuesday when Perkins Township trustees fired Det. Sgt. James "Al" Jenkins for dishonesty.

Jenkins, who had been on paid administrative leave since Oct. 14, lied under oath during a pre-disciplinary hearing, trustees said.

Trustee Chairman Bill Dwelle said the investigation of Jenkins' conduct stemmed from an ongoing investigation into the Perkins police department by the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Federal agents conducted two inventories of the department's firearms. Before the second inventory, Jenkins picked up seven firearms that were off-site and returned them to the department without authorization from his superiors, Dwelle said.

Six of the firearms were in the possession of a part-time officer, and one was with a former department employee. Those people were not authorized to have the guns, and that is part of the federal investigation, Dwelle said.

Evidence for Jenkins' misconduct came from interviews with trustees, a polygraph test and a special investigator from Columbus, Dwelle said.

"The evidence as ascertained from all of those clearly pointed in the same direction," he said. "And Mr. Jenkins declined to give us any reason or any comment why he took the actions he did."

At that point, trustees said, it became an issue of trust.

A letter Tim Coleman read into the record at the Tuesday trustees meeting claimed Jenkins' conduct relating to the inventory and to the investigation "constitutes misfeasance, malfeasance, misconduct in office, neglect of duty and incompetence."

"Due to the seriousness of your misconduct and breach of trust you have created, your employment with Perkins Township Police Department will be terminated, effective immediately," the letter said.

Jenkins can appeal the termination. Sgt. Vincent Donald, a police union representative, said he had not talked with Jenkins about the matter or his next move.

Lt. Robb Parthemore, the acting chief, said he would talk with the Erie County Prosecutor's office about how to handle Jenkins' ongoing cases. Jenkins was the department's only detective.

Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter said he did not think Jenkins' termination would impact the John Riems case, which goes to trial next month.

During questioning by Jenkins, Riems, a night-shift nurse at the Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center, allegedly recalled sexually abusing about 100 patients during his 22-year career.

"Al has always been a professional to deal with as far as I'm concerned and as far as I know," Baxter said. "We'll call him as a witness."