Redfern tiptoes police issues

Town hall meeting fails to address concerns raised by area residents, stakeholders
Andy Ouriel
Aug 10, 2014

PUT-IN-BAY

ouriel@sanduskyregister.com

A power politician admitted problems do exist with Put-in-Bay’s police force.

He’s even disgusted with the department’s alleged actions —  calling questionable arrests made by two officers in a high-profile case inappropriate — and sympathizes with residents and area stakeholders, fearful of uncontrollable and inexperienced cops patrolling the island, after reading their letters addressed to him.

But state Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba Island, stopped short of calling the department dysfunctional dismissed any chance he’d press for personnel changes or criminal charges and passed off any related responsibility he might have on this situation onto others.

He made the comments during a town hall-style meeting Saturday morning inside the Village Hall on Catawba Avenue.

About 30 people, including several area officials, attending the meeting.

Those noticeably absent: Put-in-Bay police Chief Ric Lampela and Mayor Margaret Scarpelli.

Spearheaded by Register reporting, the police department — including Lampela and Scarpelli, who oversee law enforcement operations — has come under fire in recent weeks for potential negligence and other questionable behavior, such as officers:

• Harassing local businesses.

• Making false arrests.

• Falsifying police reports.

• Neglecting, or simply ignoring, to follow up on investigation complaints from at least 15 visitors who suspect they were drugged and became unconscious after someone slipped a foreign substance into their drinks.

During the meeting, Redfern and others tiptoed around addressing these issues, despite residents voicing concerns about them.

Rather, Redfern simply said training could help solve these problems.

After the almost two-hour meeting concluded, the Register asked Redfern specific questions about the controversy:

Q: Are you concerned that Put-in-Bay police, including its operations and personnel, is dysfunctional?

CR: Dysfunctional? No. I don’t think there is any indication that it’s dysfunctional. I think there is every indication that additional training and expertise needs to (happen). I’m sure the sheriff (Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick) and other law enforcement agencies will be able to help.

Q: Have you received any information about police wrongdoing, and do you know whether there are any investigations of the police department underway or ongoing?

CR: I have received several phone calls from several individuals and a handful of elected officials of alleged wronging. I have referred those allegations to Sheriff Levorchick.

Q: At least two island business owners have complained about harassment from the police department. What steps do you recommend those business owners take to have their concerns addressed?

CR: Contact the BCI, contact the FBI and lodge an appropriate complaint.

Q: Video surveillance of arrests made this past September at the Put-in-Bay Resort suggests that the arrests were improper. Have you viewed this video, and can you offer an opinion about what it shows?

CR: I have viewed the video, and I think it was inappropriate. It was over the top. The days allowing law enforcement to enter private property and (having them) arrest you because you want to be viewed on videotape, and you’re arrested because the officer doesn’t want to, I thought those days were in the past. Sadly they are not.

Q: Have any village council members given you any indication as to what they intend to do about problems in the police department that have been suggested by business owners who have been allegedly harassed?

CR: Yes. They said they need to get more training.

Q: And you still don’t think there is a problem here?

CR: I think that there is a need for additional training. Absolutely, without a about.

Comments

DickTracey

If your town is hosting a Town Hall event, with state representatives traveling to be in attendance, and you are the mayor and police chief, and you do not attend, YOU ARE RUDE and unprofessional.

These two need to stay on their high horse and ride off to the sunset. The island will be much better off with out them.

reader

Did the Register ask any questions about the door knob rattling incident at Redfern's home?

WeThePeople1965

When was that?

Factitious

That's the story of the 19-year-old adult "rich kid" neighbor Alexander Reitzel (the SR kept calling him a "teen") who got caught on camera trying to break into Redfern's home. Apparently no expense was spared in the perp's defense, which included an attack campaign on Redfern, and some absurd excuses; "All he wanted was his parents to buy this home," DeBacco said.

All the effort paid off and the felony charge landed Reitzel no jail time and no record. See one of the many stories: "Redfern burglary case settled" http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

Louise

Alexander Reitzel did not attempt to burlarize Redford's house. What thief would walk around in broad daylight, and in bright clothing without so much as a nail file in his pocket? If you understood the facts, the absurdity was on the part of the prosecutor.

Factitious

To find the other articles on the circus, try a google search thusly - redfern, reitzel site:sanduskyregister.com

Digger-Nick

Why would anyone expect chief lampella or the mayor to attend? Does anyone out there really think that they give a dam what Redfern thinks? They know they are the islands primary problem, and once again snub the island with their arrogant attitudes.

WeThePeople1965

Training could help solve these problems? If the PD has to get more training, then what are they doing on the police force to begin with? He's essentially saying he isn't going to do anything about it. That's nonsense.

The Big Dog's back

One question that needs to be put on an application for the police Dept. is are you a white right wing Repub.

just observing

once again piddle pup off topic, typical political-union hack.

Blackberry Phale

I have always felt that the democrat mascot was a fitting one.

Digger-Nick

Lol lil pup doubt you will find a republican working for 9 bucks an hour like the pd there makes, you get what you pay for.

Keep Focused

The register always magnifies your picture when they ate displeased with your cooperation.

Somehow this is part of their manipulation routine.

MrSandusky

So he admits that there are issues, yet does not offer any solution or really do anything other than add further worthless lip service to the citizens that elected him and pay his salary.

Georgeof the jungle

Typical political jargon, or buffalo cookies as some would say, from a politician not wanting to ruffle any voting feathers...

meg a

I didn't expect corruption to fix corruption

amusedNdanbury

Amen.

Julian

Spearheaded by Register reporting? Tooting your own horn a little too much there. I don't think CNN puts in their articles, "due to the spectacular and unparalleled CNN reporting, we were able to bring you this story." Don't flatter yourselves.

LivinOnTheLake

C'mon Register, don't ask Redfern to do your dirty work of condemning PIB officials. Now do I think PIB has a major problem with the Mayor and Police Chief...hell yes. But it will ultimately be the VOTERS who correct this problem, not Chris Redfern and certainly not the Register. You should get a pat on the back for bringing these PIB issues to light, but going in "attack-mode" is the wrong way to affect change.

YoMamma

Attack mode is all they have.

tzu4u

If you want a qualified police force, you have to pay for it. Cheap pay equals bad/ inexperienced cops.

GoBigLex2001

Indeed. Places like PIB PD, Cedar Point PD, Berln Heights PD and all these other smaller PD's are just a stepping stone for new officers. Upon graduating the academy, new grads scramble to get on "someplace" because if you dont find a department within the first year, you need a refresher and after the second year the state will seize your commission. Because of this, its often hard to get the good cop jobs so places get stuck with underpaid, inexperienced officers.

amusedNdanbury

Many things come to mind when I think of Mr. Redfern...power politician is way, way off base.