Howard skips the details

Sheriff goes on offensive in battle with Norwalk police over botched raid
Courtney Astolfi
May 4, 2014


Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard provided what appears to be inaccurate information last week to bolster his defense of deputies involved in a botched raid on Benedict Avenue on March 25. 

Howard released a series of text messages exchanged between his detective and a Norwalk police officer regarding the flawed search warrant used in the raid. 

But he left out four specific text messages that appear to show statements he’s made about the raid are not accurate. 

The sheriff appears also to have incorrectly stated that no conversation occurred between his deputy and the Norwalk officer in the days leading up to the raid. 

Phone records obtained by the Register show it apparently did occur. 

Get today's Sunday Register for more on this developing news. Click here for the ePaper, for home delivery or buy the Register every day at a newsstand near you. 



If it can be shown definitively that the sheriff is lying (and it appears that's the case), then the people of Huron County need to decide whether or not they want such a man entrusted with the safety of the County, and who possesses the power that goes along with that charge.

It doesn't matter why a liar lies. Whether it's to cover his own behind or for self-aggrandizement, you simply cannot trust a liar not to keep lying. Mistakes are one thing; deliberate acts are another. I would hope that all of us, wherever we call home, would refuse to allow such a man or woman to hold onto their authority any longer than the next election. That's not bad advice whether it's the Huron County Sheriff, your Congressional Representatives, or the President, by the way...


Why are sheriff men always rotund?


Wow how stupid is he. He forgot you can get get copy of text. So he did not cover it up to good. Howard be afraid elections coming up if you keep this up. Take notes huron county.

Really are you ...

Mr. Howard is being exposed to his willingness to twist information gathered to get what he wants. How can he be trusted? Being the top dog in law enforcement for Huron County. How unprofessional. If good leaders lead by example. How professional is the rest of his staffing?

Just thinking about how things in life's cycle repeats itself. If you don't learn from the past, you'll repeat the same mistakes in the future. The prohibition of alcohol from 1920 to 1933, and it's comparison to the war on drugs. How can the war be won? There will always be an underground, bootleggers, users, dealers, corruption... Amendments were created and repealed on alcohol. Drugs, illegal, have always been around. The war on drugs, and now legalization in some states of marijuana. Sheriff Dane needs to be working on the more harmful garbage like heroin, crack and bath salts.


Any one who trust Dane A Howard, is a FOOL. I trusted him once, and never again will I trust him with my safety, my property, or my life.
I WILL TRUST HIS DEPUTIES, that are not on the BUS.
I will trust some of the great deputies who work for the Sheriff's Office, the ones with experience and show respect and responsibility for their jobs. The deputies that believe in SERVE and PROTECT, like TC, CS, SS, JK, RC those who have honor and believe in the Constitution. But NOT the New Kids on the Block, or his Yes MEN, TP,and MC..


You forgot JQ in the Yes men. LOL


It's difficult to tell anything from these text messages as they appear to be faxed copies. Anyone can add or delete something to a faxed copy of a text message so it is hard to know who is really lying. Also a record of a phone call does not prove that anything was said regarding the raid or the warrant. The two detectives could have been making plans for dinner for all we know. As for Dane Howard, if he runs I think he's a goner next time around. Though I voted for him previously (personally he is a good guy)I cannot do it again in light of all the issues recently. In fact I don't know any of his previous supporters who have said they will vote for him again.

JMOP's picture

"The sheriff appears also to have incorrectly stated that no conversation occurred between his deputy and the Norwalk officer in the days leading up to the raid."

I don't believe that to be accurate Register. Howard stated from the beginning that he gave a heads up to the NPD he was going forward with the raid. Also in the Reflector Howard was the one who released the text messages from the day prior and on the day of the raid.

If Howard didn't give a heads up to NPD then that would contradict Lights statement of giving Howard the order to stand down.

Am I wrong?

Courtney Astolfi

Actually, NPD Detective Fulton released his text messages to the Register three or four days before Howard released HCSO Detective Zander's texts to the Reflector. Howard released those the day after the Register ran a story about them, though his version did not include four texts that Fulton's version did. 

As for the phone call, Fulton wrote in an internal NPD memo that during that call, he told Zander that Hendricks, the target of the warrant, lived between two other addresses and had never lived on Benedict Ave. That phone call is the one Howard said did not take place. 

Thanks for the comment! I hope I cleared that up. 

JMOP's picture

I'm sorry, I still am confused.

1. If Fulton knew it to be a bad warrant, why did he offer Zander his own guys on the shift if they needed? Wouldn't the NPD get in trouble involving themselves in a botched raid knowing full well it was? Why would he do that?

2. From what Howard said, he didn't deny a phone call taking place, he is denying a conversation that Zander was warned by Fulton that was "a bad search warrant". Besides Fulton writing a memo about the warnings, could that of been made up days afterward?

The Norwalk Reflector from Howard:

Howard told the Reflector on Monday a special investigator with the Holmes County Sheriff's Office "has found no wrongdoing on the parts of the detectives." In fact, Howard said there was no conversation between "my detectives and police personnel" in which Norwalk police reportedly warned Zander "about a bad search warrant" -- as alleged in a recent media report -- before the Benedict Avenue incident.

From above in the Register:

"The sheriff appears also to have incorrectly stated that no conversation occurred between his deputy and the Norwalk officer in the days leading up to the raid.

Phone records obtained by the Register show it apparently did occur."

3. The Papps stated there were two NPD men there. Has anyone checked the log that night to confirm or deny that fact?

If the answer is right here in front of me, and I don't see it, I apologize, please just tell me I'm a hopeless case.
Thank you for taking the time to answer me.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks JMOP. You raise a legitimate question. Not sure what the exact answer is, but the Register will be taking a further look at this later this week. It appears Sheriff Howard might have stipulated to the Reflector there was no phone call that specifically warned the sheriff's detective it was a "bad warrant." But the Norwalk detective said he specifically told her the target of the warrant did not live at the address listed in the warrant, effectively making it a bad warrant. We will ask Howard whether he contends there was no phone call, or no warning, but the net result appears to be the same, regardless. Generally, Howard has refused to answer the questions he's been asked by the Register about the botched raid. Hope that helps.

JMOP's picture

Thank you Matt,

I understand It appears Howard broke the law with the raid, but in my opinion the NPD seem not as truthful either. They threw Howard under the bus when this became public, and going as far as saying they ordered a "stand down", when in fact it's clearly in a text they offered their men if the Sheriffs Dept needed them.

Correct me if I'm wrong please, but can we compare this illegal search as something along the lines as a home invasion? With Fulton knowing this, and offering his men because he couldn't make it, would that put him and his men in the position of being unlawful also?

I know the NPD can only do so much against the Sheriff, but how can they say they ordered a stand down, yet offer assistance?

At the very least Fulton is deceiving since in those texts he gave Zander the OK to meet up at 6:30.


Jmop, I think you are misunderstanding the stand down order. In the SR's article from April 27, it is mentioned that, "last year Chief Light asked Sheriff Howard to back down from taking the lead on drug investigations inside the city and told him he wanted more cooperation from deputies." I believe this is because of the unprofessional behavior displayed by several members of the HCSO. Also, the article mentions that after the raid had occurred, "Light also told Fulton to step back, for now, from interacting with the sheriff's office on any new cases." I believe this is because the sheriff's office fabricated charges against Fulton and Fry.

In regards to Fulton offering assistance, I do not believe he is being deceiving because he believed they were going to be conducting a search warrant at Patricia Papp's residence, and Zander had informed Fulton the day before that Patricia Papp is the mother of Rob Hendricks. Fulton did not know they were actually hitting the residence next door to Papp's, where John Collins resides.

Fulton has a great reputation in the community as an honest and hard working man, so I do not believe he would have offered assistance if he knew the HCSO was wrong about who lived in each respective residence.


Well said and right on the money!

JMOP's picture

Thank you, and It was a misunderstanding on my part of knowing the stand down orders. Thanks for filling me in.

Something still seems out-of-place with the NPD to me. Maybe I've been reading (and reading too much into) what's been going on. My brain feels like scrambled eggs trying to keep up. Guess it's time for a break from continuing to read about this.




Knuckle you are wrong. Dane is not a good guy. Good guys admit their shortcomings. Good guys don't push their "way" on qualified honorable people. I too sadly voted for him the 1rst time.


Apparently you don't know him personally. He is a good guy, but a horrible sheriff. If you think Chief Light is innocent on all this you are nuts. He is playing CYA.


Knuckledragger, there are times in life when you have a choice between your friends and your principles. It sounds like you're struggling with that. I vote for your principles.


Normal M.O.
Status Quo

yea right

don't matter who you vote for..they all have a "personal agenda" they want to fulfill..good or the bad..the bad ones stick out more cuz they usualy get this case Dane thought he was doing right..but it turned out bad..and now he does not want to admit it..thats the start of going bad..GET HIM OUT the best advice

JMOP's picture

I agree with you 100%!

Well said BTW.

Ralph J.

Vote Howard out of office! Stop electing these type of people to office.

JMOP's picture

Here's the link that Howard released the text messages from the Norwalk Reflector last week.


Sheesh it is impossible to keep up with any of this. Anybody who claims to have a clue just from reading these articles is clearly full of it.

Stop It

They trampled all over 4th Amendment rights. That is the big problem here. I could care less about personality or who likes who.


I had respect for Dane when he was a detective, but now as Sheriff its been lost for ever.