Update: Port Clinton police go social

Chief Rob Hickman uses Facebook page to bash Register's request for public records.
Shawn Foucher
Jun 15, 2013


June 15, 2013, 6 p.m.

Port Clinton police chief Robert Hickman responded to an article in Saturday's Register by posting at the police department's Facebook page, declaring he would determine what information would be released for a police blotter and he would continue posting that information at the Facebook page.

"I will NOT debate this issue with (the Register) as we’ve spoken to them a couple times this past week regarding the release of our/your records," Hickman wrote. "They along with other media outlets will be provided a copy of the 'blotter' as I print here on Facebook and if the Sandusky Register or others want further specific information; all they have to do is request it (plain and simple)." 

The police department has denied several public records requests already, however, the latest on Friday when police department records clerk Mark Anderson said the newspaper's request to review specific incident reports was "overly broad or burdensome." The request was not broad and would have required Anderson to simply press the "print" button on a computer keyboard to print the documents.

Other police departments across the region comply with the very same request every day.

State law specifically details how public records are to be released and does not allow for police departments to withhold records arbitrarily or use social media as a substitute for complying with public records requests. The Register renewed its requests for documents on Saturday. 

Despite the seemingly apparent noncompliance with state law, some fans of the police department's Facebook page supported Hickman's decision to pick and choose which documents the public can see. 

"We, the public, are informed and you inform us how you see fit," Courtney Dorreman posted in a statement directed to Hickman. "Keep doing what you think is best and forget their drama."

Another poster at the city's social media page expressed similar animosity toward the Register for requesting the documents.

"The Register is TRASH! And they hate Police! Anyone can see that!" Mary Tuttamore Meade posted. "Chief Hickman, you keep doing the awesome job you have been doing for your community!"

Another poster suggested documents and information should be withheld from the public despite state law requiring disclosure. 

"The register/community does not need to know every detail in every call," Nicole Goldstein wrote. "I believe the list of calls dispatched is enough for the public. If they want more then they can get off their butts and do the hard work of getting the info."


Original post, June 15, 2013, 5 a.m.:

Port Clinton police don't disclose
Officers are so overworked, they can’t print reports. 

That’s more or less the word from police Chief Rob Hickman and records clerk Mark Anderson, who said their records software makes it much too difficult to print crime reports on a weekly basis.

The Register routinely requests incident reports from area police departments and sheriff’s offices, using information from the reports to write stories and police blotter. Almost without fail, area law enforcement departments provide — either daily or weekly — a stack of incident reports typed up by officers and deputies. 

Sandusky police, for example, employ one records clerk who on a daily basis prints dozens upon dozens of incident reports that are made available that same day. 

Port Clinton, however, has resorted to providing the public with a list of calls dispatched, but no reports associated with those calls. Many of the items say, “Breaking and entering,” or “citation issued,” but it provides no further information, such as who was arrested or any other particulars. 

In short, the list of calls of dispatched is useless in providing any information of value to the public.    

Port Clinton police said the Register can circle any items that look interesting, then request reports for those. With vague information on the call log — in some cases, zero information — it is near impossible to determine what merits an “interesting” report. 

Hickman, Anderson and Port Clinton police Detective Corbin Carpenter said the Register is making Port Clinton police do the newspaper’s work by requesting all incident reports, rather than, as the police department suggests, choosing items that look interesting.    

The Register has asked the department to provide full reports for anything listed on the call log. Anderson, the records clerk, said Friday this request is “overly broad or ambiguous.” 

This is the first time a local police department has ever used this reasoning to deny a weekly batch of incident reports based on this exemption. The Register’s request is not overly broad or ambiguous. 

Sometimes, Port Clinton police would be forced to print anywhere from six reports to 20 reports a day. Anderson said he’s much too busy to print so many reports. 

State law is clear about police incident reports. A police department’s defunct software system — incapable of easily printing reports — is not one of the listed exemptions. 

As a result of Port Clinton’s stance, the Register cannot run Port Clinton police blotter in today’s paper. Other blotters from area police agencies will appear in the newspaper today and throughout the weekend as usual.  



They are not being denied. They simply said, circle anything that looks "interesting" to you, then request it and you will get it. Like your job as a newspaper is so hard. In my opinion, police officers have much more important things to do than worrying about what is and what isn't interesting to you. You determine that, and then ask for it. Jeeze

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for sharing your opinion sweetness, but complying with state law should be a priority for the Port Clinton police department despite your personal feeling or animosity toward the Register. You'd have to be some sort of savant to know what's interesting before anything is disclosed. 

Baba Booey


Edwin Ison

If the law is clear, pursue legal action.
I'll bet there are plenty of previous decisions to reference.


Stop whining.

No, definitely not a savant. But honestly... The blotter is probably the dumbest thing. It does nothing but prove how stupid some people are, and how our "well spent" tax dollars are being dished out.

Way to be condescending, you must have a guilty conscience to jump right on the defensive line. Congratulations


Maybe the register should actually write a productive story once in a while and quit riding the backs of every law enforcement agency every day and they may be a bit more reasonable and willing to five the register the requested information in a timely manner. You catch more bees with honey than vinegar Westerhold!


Assweet I agree....they told them they could have a report if requested. Not sure what the big deal is. I understand the LAW and public records, BUT many of the "reports" in the police blotter are just plain ridiculous. Not interesting, not informative, not important. Let the police do their job, they are not secretaries.

Señor Clown

"Let the police do their job, they are not secretaries."

You do understand that the primary role of a law enforcement agency is to investigate and document incidents as a service to the prosecutor's office and courts?

Alissa Widman Neese's picture
Alissa Widman Neese

It sounds simple, doesn't it asweetnessabove? However, when I circled the reports I wanted a couple weeks ago (about 150, about half of the total number of reports dispatched in a week), I received and was told I only "really needed" about 30-50 of them. That was an entire week's worth of reports. So just because you ask doesn't mean you necessarily receive.


My question is, are you paying for these reports? If not, you should be. I personally don't want my tax dollars paying for the man hours and supplies used to print these reports so that a for profit newspaper can make money off of it.


I would really like to know the answer to that myself. Does the register pay for the "150 copies" of reports every week from all the local departments, or are "we", the public paying for the supplies and man hours to provide the register with its news? I talked to a local township employee awhile ago that said a SR reporter wanted 5 years of records from them (over six binders worth of copies) it took them the better part of a week to compile it (all the while still being required to do their job) and the reporter threatened them with the "sunshine" law if they didn't complete it fast enough. Again Matt and his cronies are using the SR to try and bash folks that won't let him get his way RIGHT, THIS, SECOND. Instead of publicly pouting everytime you don't get your way, just file a lawsuit. But since we never hear about these lawsuits being filed and won, I'm guessing all your going to do is complain in your paper. It only seems like its the SR, and a couple others in this forum that care whether we get to read the reports about who got a speeding ticket over the weekend anyways. The rest of us could really care less, which leaves you complaining all by your lonesome, and the rest of us pointing it out. I would of hated to be one of your siblings/friends growing up, probably would of got tattled on everytime I passed gas, burped, picked my nose or pointed. I think the SR is just mad that these police departments started publishing blotters with pictures and stories of their own on facebook, making your paper obsolete, well unless you all like reading what happened in Sandusky 60 years ago today in the NEWs.


does the SR pay for the materials and man hours for public information requests?


Its ok we didn't really expect an answer on this question, we already know what the answer is. We, the tax payers are the ones that pay for the materials and time for you to be able to obtain your "150 police reports" per week per department, which in turn you charge us to read...well the few that pay for your paper anyways, and then claim its journalism. And that doesn't even include all the other local offices that you request information from. Then you guys print stories about how our local government is wasting X amount of our tax dollars...


Well when your employer has a reputation for being a**es to the police and writing negative stories about them constantly they tend to not want to be very cooperative!


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Libel and defamation.

Capt. Ford

I find it interesting that the Register doesn't go after the Cedar Point PD records, oh, that would be biting the hand that feeds.

Edwin Ison

Good point, how about it Matt? Is CP police also bound by the same laws as PC police?

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Captain and Edwin. It's a good point. The Cedar Point police department is not exactly governed by the same rules for a variety of reasons. It's a quasi-public agency. It is a division of the Sandusky Police Department, but is fully funded by Cedar Point and operates on private property. I believe there was some specific legislation created years ago to create the CPPD agency.  


And Matt successfully dodges the actual question on why they do not go get the logs from CP.. You're paper seems to be more of a tabloid anymore then a new/fact finding paper, much as the case of most of your dying industry. Such records/logs would be right up your alley for sure with the current state of the ragister.


CP police being partially privatized and only operating on private property might be bound by the same privacy laws as armed officers operating in hospitals. Just a thought.


Just because you didn't understand the simple answer doesn't mean the question was dodged. Assumedly the answer was targeted to be understandable by someone of average intelligence. Perhaps you could submit a request to the Register for an answer translated down to a lower level target audience?


"Assumedly the answer was targeted to be understandable by someone of average intelligence." ----- Assumedly the answer was meant to be UNDERSTOOD by someone WITH average intelligence. Don't worry, we "lower level audience", will correct your grammer.


I used to work for Cedar Point Police, it is a police department just like any other. I can assure you that if half of what happens over there was put in print in the Register attendance would drop significantly. However, so would the advertising dollars to the register. What happens cover there beats anything that is going on in Port Clinton. The public records fight is only worth fighting as long as advertising dollars are not in play.


For years PC has not been disclosing names of those interested, even in their newspaper. I think the Register and the public have a right to that information. I don't care if someone gets a ticket, but I do want to know if there's a felon living next door or who is trafficking drugs. Fortunately, if you have a police scanner, you can get some info from that but there is no listing of arrests anywhere. The News Herald has chosen to report a story without using a name, ie, they say a man was arrested for such and such but don't disclose his identity. I think often it's to protect the privacy of long time or important residents but that's just my opinion. Still, I think we're entitled to know.


They need to obey the law regardless! The police shouldn't just pick and choose what laws they feel are necessary. I'm willing to bet that office does has the time but a lot of time is wasted due to unnecessary chit chat among coworkers and folks using there cell phones inappropriately regardless law is law


We all have the right to know what happens in any town. With out transparence we live in China!!!
Matt I have never met you however you have a very tough job. I thank you and employees at Sandusky Register for digging in the trenches for our "the public's" best welfare.

Julie R.


J Cooper

Different day, different law enforcement on the Register lets make them look bad list. This is what happens in a very small single printed media market.


Law enforcement seems to do a bang up job all by themselves.


The law is the law and entities like to play games with public reocrds. Some entities think they can make up their own rules. Sometimes it is a lack of training and the entity thinks it is none of your business. On the other hand, entities like to see how far they can take it by denying public documents they don't want out. No one should have to get to the point of having to sue the entitiy for records that belong to the public. What happens is that in the long run, if the public record is not given up in a timely matter, it is obvious the entity doesn't want you to have it. It will cost the entity more money in a lawsuit if someone should take them up on a lawsuit. It is irresponsbile for an entity to provoke a lawsuit that will cost the taxpayers more money in the long run then if you just handed over the public record.

Fibber Mcgee

Did we have this problem when Bahnsen was chief?


No but then Westerhold wasn't the editor either and the Register actually displayed balance, accuracy, and professionalism.


I can't believe some of you are defending the police on this. This is a no brainer.


Keep in mind that many of the defenders are no doubt part of the same crowd that says and honestly beleives "I don't care if police come inside everybody's house and search it top to bottom with no warrant. I don't have anything to hide"


Good comment. Many people in foreign countries wonder why Americans are so stupid and ignorant. The law is the law when it comes to public records requests. I posted and tried to explain what the law states. Did the ignorant bother to read what I posted? Being ignorant means one is not aware but ignoring information to become aware means being stupid.


I don't live in PC. I will say however, that the only thing I would be interested in is the same as unassumer. I would rather the police be on the lookout for things that could affect the public safety. Don't the police have computers in their cars so that they can write up the report right after it happens?


Have you EVER seen a police report published from Catawba Island in any newspaper? This is nothing new for us!


We have our own Police Department. PCPD doesn't patrol up here.


I am sure it is the law, and sure they should comply, but not front page news, Sounds to me like the Register is stomping there feet and jumping up and down throwing a fit because they are not getting what they want. Just like a school superintendent in our area. Look below for Matt,s responds.


Not every newspaper runs a "police blotter of the day" . Not every police department hands over a nightly report to the media. I think many are just upset they have no entertainment of the day. Most people are just nosey and "ambulance chasers". If they have heard or seen the police, fire dept, EMS squad go they just like to be nosey and know everything. Honestly I have never seen any USEFUL information on the police blotter segments. I have not changed my day, worried about a tourist, or needed more information on a crazy drunk. It is fun to read, fun to point at and laugh, but news worthy? NO.

dorothy gale



It's called laziness and they to have rules to abide by.. Maybe it's time for a shake up there as well

Julie R.

Isn't Port Clinton in Ottawa County? Isn't that the county that worked in collusion with Erie County and corrupt Cuyahoga County to put the disbarred Oak Harbor attorney in prison for 8 years?

Enough said.

J Cooper

You mean the CONVICTED FELON and disbarred lawyer.

Enough Said

Julie R.

Convicted felon? What a joke.

As for being disbarred --- I can give you quite a list of dirt-bag attorneys that are unfit to practice law and Elsebeth Baumgarter is not one of them. For that matter, I can give you the names of some judges that are also unfit to practice law .... and unfit is an understatement.

J Cooper

The joke must be on her, she still is in prison and will never regain her law license as a CONVICTED FELON.

Julie R.

I see that worthless former OAG Marc Dann just got his law license back after only a 6-month suspension.


Wow --- that worthless skirt-chaser resigned following revelations showing his inner circle in turmoil as allegations of sex harrassment were brought against his top aide, Dann himself admitted to his own consensual extramarital affair with his scheduler, he was accused of cronyism in hiring practices, pled guilty to two first-degree misdemeanors for using campaign and inauguration accounts to funnel pay to two top aides and friends plus he got it for failing to disclose income & gifts on ethics forms and all he got was a 6-month suspension of his law license? Even worse, had it been up to that worthless Ohio Disciplinary Counsel he wouldn't have even got that.

So instead of saying the joke is on the disbarred attorney, why not tell it like it is and say the joke is on ALL of us in OHIO?

Really are you ...

Law enforcement and governing bodies have gone from keeping the public informed to a need to know basis. I would like to know a lot of things as to exactly what and why the government does what they do and get away with it. Things like: When is the price of fuel going to drop back to where it was in, say 1990? Why wasn't the Iraq war paid for by Iraq? Afghanistan the same way? Why didn't the government warn the taliban in the mountains of Afghanistan that the US forces will pass through those mountain chains free of charge and if any shots fired at the troops we will level the mountains? When are the jobs coming back to the United States? Why are there no terms for congressmen? Why does the government allow special interest groups and lobbyists influence the pass or fail of new bills or laws introduced to congress? Why is congress paid if they can not balance a budget? At a local level. Where is the justice for Jake? How many other things have been hidden from the public eye? But then again, I am on a need to know basis.


Very good question Really, I wonder if a situation could occur where a report states officers dispatched to 123 Main St (hypothetically). That is all that is on the report, the SR (and any other paper) looks at it and doesn't circle it for further information. When the actual report is there was loud music, the officers entered the residence without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and a citizen call them out on unlawful search and seizure and the officer blasted him in the face with mace. This would never come to light if the citizen decided not to pursue legal options. Just sayin'


"Sometimes, Port Clinton police would be forced to print anywhere from six reports to 20 reports a day. Anderson said he’s much too busy to print so many reports.

6 to 20 daily police reports are not “overly broad or ambiguous.” If a person or newspapers asked for all police department public records for the past 100 years, then it would be considered overly broad and ambiguous. Who is giving legal advice to Anderson? Some prosecutor who "chooses" who to indict and who to slip away?

How is that theft case of $200,000 from an elderly widow in Ottawa County (Ohio) coming along? Same as a former sheriff who used public money for personal use?

Availability of public records for inspection and copying.

2) "Confidential law enforcement investigatory record" means any record that pertains to a law enforcement matter of a criminal, quasi-criminal, civil, or administrative nature, but only to the extent that the release of the record would create a high probability of disclosure of any of the following:

(a) The identity of a suspect who has not been charged with the offense to which the record pertains, or of an information source or witness to whom confidentiality has been reasonably promised;

(b) Information provided by an information source or witness to whom confidentiality has been reasonably promised, which information would reasonably tend to disclose the source's or witness's identity;

(c) Specific confidential investigatory techniques or procedures or specific investigatory work product;

(d) Information that would endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel, a crime victim, a witness, or a confidential information source.

Above are the exceptions to Ohio police reports. Being too busy is not one of them.


What do you expect from a city that allowed a house of ill repute to stay in business for years?

J Cooper

Still upset they wouldn't give you a refund for failure to perform?


Troll and flamer

J Cooper

Still talking about a place that was closed down by law enforcement in 1972, are you self promoting again.


Corrupt Ottawa County (Ohio) Sheriffs.

"The revelations would eventually bring down the sitting Ottawa County sheriff James Ellenberger and sent former Ottawa county sheriff Myron Hetrick to prison for helping to distribute tens of thousands of dollars in bribes."


Are you really bringing up something from decades ago??? What does this have to do with the current administration of Port Clinton PD?


"We process all public record requests from many different agencies and citizens. The records office remains current on the Public Records Act and complies with the Records Retention Schedule as set forth by the Ohio Historical Society. We make reports accessible as a means to provide trust between the public and our Department."


Anyone who is familiar with public records knows that you have to request them usually. I think pc police do a great job keeping the community informed. They have already addressed this article on their Facebook page. Sandusky register, why don't you let the news herald worry about port Clinton and you can keep attacking the public services in your city alone.

sandtown born a...

Obviously they do because they can its called the law . Pick and choose isn't a option for the transparency of law enforcement


Matt, perhaps you should be willing to pay for these requests as the Ohio Revised Code states they have right to charge you:

(6) If any person chooses to obtain a copy of a public record in accordance with division (B) of this section, the public office or person responsible for the public record may require that person to pay in advance the cost involved in providing the copy of the public record in accordance with the choice made by the person seeking the copy under this division. The public office or the person responsible for the public record shall permit that person to choose to have the public record duplicated upon paper, upon the same medium upon which the public office or person responsible for the public record keeps it, or upon any other medium upon which the public office or person responsible for the public record determines that it reasonably can be duplicated as an integral part of the normal operations of the public office or person responsible for the public record. When the person seeking the copy makes a choice under this division, the public office or person responsible for the public record shall provide a copy of it in accordance with the choice made by the person seeking the copy. Nothing in this section requires a public office or person responsible for the public record to allow the person seeking a copy of the public record to make the copies of the public record.

(7) Upon a request made in accordance with division (B) of this section and subject to division (B)(6) of this section, a public office or person responsible for public records shall transmit a copy of a public record to any person by United States mail or by any other means of delivery or transmission within a reasonable period of time after receiving the request for the copy. The public office or person responsible for the public record may require the person making the request to pay in advance the cost of postage if the copy is transmitted by United States mail or the cost of delivery if the copy is transmitted other than by United States mail, and to pay in advance the costs incurred for other supplies used in the mailing, delivery, or transmission.



Is there any other worth while news going on?

Woody Hayes

Convicted felon and disbarred lawyer. Yep, that about says it all, doesn't it Tin Foil.

Mr. D

Awww, ctauri, thanks for the history lesson. But the house of ill repute deal is ancient history. You can do better than that!


He will decide what information needs released maybe he should contact the AG office that's not what the sunshine law states.. also maybe he needs to be removed from his position if he wants to violate the law. I will file complaint with the AG office monday on this clown!!!!!


Public records are, well, public. Now while I continue to disagree what SHOULD constitute "public," the fact is that anything so designated is available to you, me, or the media simply by making the request.

Ah, well, if it makes anybody in Port Clinton feel any better, various federal entities also have an abysmal track record when it comes to providing public records (everything from delays to refusals to demands for exhorbitant payment). On the other hand, most of us call THOSE folks CROOKS! Probably because they are. And you know what? That's what people at ANY level of government are called when they refuse to comply with the law!

Yes, we ought to curb the amount of public information available. Yes, there are things we ALL ought to fight to be kept private. But that's up to us to demand and legislators to change. The police don't MAKE the laws; they just enforce them.

Hear that, chief?


"Port Clinton officer responds to author of obscene letter"

"Be assured the Port Clinton Police Department will investigate this violation of Ohio Revised Code the same as every other complaint, to the fullest of our ability!"

Which law of the ORC is Corbin referring to?

Wasn't the letter from a citizen also a public record that the Port Clinton police refused to release?


Matt Westerhold has done much more to defend our rights and liberties than these pigs who are deadset in running their corrupt lawbreaking rackets in the darkness. Can anyone thing of any local Law Enforcement Agency that has demonstrated they are worthy of trust and respect? Of course the Sandusky Register dislikes law enforcement since basically LE around here is a corrupt gang that abuses the public.



"PORT CLINTON A high-ranking city employee who recently resigned from his post over the sale of city-owned scrap metal was indicted this morning in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court on two counts of felony theft."

Didn't this felon get a slap on the wrist and diversion and no criminal record?

Clark W

Just another embarrassing article by the SR.
It's the equivalent of a child's tantrum.
And, judging by the majority of posters here, and virtually all on Facebook, it's truly backfired on the SR.
I have some questions for Mr. Westerhold.
Who is pushing the quite apparent anti-law enforcement agenda?
Is it you?
Is it the individual reporters?
What is the publisher's role in this?

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Clark W, but why would you think a simple request for public records is somehow anti-law enforcement? The requirements are specifically detailed in state law and ignoring those requirements is prohibited by state law. That seems pretty straightforward and there is no anti-law enforcement agenda in it at all.  

Clark W

Has PCPD made records available to the SR, or have they given you nothing?
And I fail to see how the PCPD's Facebook post bashes the SR.
On the other hand, it's easy to see that the SR is bashing the PCPD.
Care to answer my other questions, here, for all to see?
You're so interested in transparency, answer my questions here.

Matt Westerhold

As the article clearly details, the Port Clinton police department has not provided the public records the Register has requested. 

The newspaper is referred to as "trash" on the city's social media page, and another poster suggested reporters were too lazy to 'get off their butts." That seems a little bashing to me and inappropriate for a city to provide a forum for inaccurate comments of that nature. 

Since the Register does not have an anti-law enforcement agenda your other questions are moot.

Clark W

Wow Mr. Matt Westerhold.
You can dish it out, but you can't take it.
Not surprising.
You get to bash all you want, but the first time someone criticizes you or the SR, you retreat to your shell.
At least answer this: What role does your publisher (who, as it turns out, has no news or newspaper experience) play in all of this?

Matt Westerhold

The Register is not retreating, Clark W. We renewed our request for the incident reports today and we forwarded a copy of it to the Ohio attorney general's public records mediation service for review. It seems abundantly clear the Port Clinton police department is not complying with the requirements of ORC 149.43.  And again, you are asking questions that cannot be answered because you are basing them on the inaccurate assumption the SR has an anti-law enforcement agenda. You, or any other reader, is welcome to call me at 419-609-5866 if there is a need for further clarification. 


You must be a great dancer, because you're using professional dance moves on this dance floor. Way to dance around the questions that, honestly, a lot of people would like answered!


How many different ways does he need to answer the same question? Pay attention!


I am paying attention. You clearly, are not. He has answered maybe 1. Maybe you should learn how to read.


Its not just the departments that think its trash. Figured you and your publisher would be able to see the growing trend of folks around here that take what you print with a grain of salt, which means your losing touch with your target audience. If I were the owner of the paper I would take that into consideration. Your "journalism" awards don't exaclty mean your a good paper, that means your PEERS think you can write, it means nothing when it comes to your readers. If there were and alternative for our area we would buy it.


Hey Matt it me with the silly name. Neither the Police Chief nor the department referred to the Register as "trash" nor did they say your reporters "were too lazy to get up off their butts". Those statements were the opinion of citizens. So your headline is a blatant lie as Hickman did not make the offending statements which you claim bash the Register. Since these were made by citizens are you suggesting that the city censure their speech? If so I would suggest you read the Registers comment section where the police are referred to as "pigs" & "a corrupt gang". Also the Chief is referred to as "that boy" & "the pcpd dog boy", perhaps you should check your own site before complaining about somebody else's. Its things such as these that do demonstrate either an anti-law enforcement agenda or blatant incompetence on the part of the Register.


"A former city official might not face trial on charges of stealing city-owned scrap metal."


""The register/community does not need to know every detail in every call," Nicole Goldstein wrote. "I believe the list of calls dispatched is enough for the public. If they want more then they can get off their butts and do the hard work of getting the info."

Is this Nicole about 30 years old and from Sandusky County, Ohio?


One lesson that I learned early in life is never fight with somebody who buys their ink by the barrel and paper by the ton.

Woody Hayes

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


What were Woody Hayes comments? I didn't see them before removal.


Get Kasich to add the PC PD to his Jobsohio team.........
Nobody knows what they do, no reports to anyone.

They are using government money for corporate welfare checks and tax credits. Records are sealed from the SR.

Where is Matts "outrage" over that puppy?

Nah, easier to pick on a PD across the bridge......

your master

What's that boy in port Clinton trying to hide


Can Port Clinton afford another lawsuit? Why didn't Port Clinton just settle with that attorney about that $20 parking ticket?

"Zilba's attorney Corey Tomlinson tells 13 ABC, "These are not compensatory damages. The money is for attorney's fees. This has been litigated for a year and a half. We were just asking them to fix the law and pay the fees."

The settlement agreement says the city has to change its parking enforcement policy to comply with state law and the U.S. Constitution."

If the city gets sued, can Port Clinton afford to pay the court costs and legal fees of the Sandusky Register?

There was a case in Ohio where a county prosecutor and judge refused to give a 911 tape to a newspaper claiming that it was not a public record.

"Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser has filed notice that he’ll appeal an Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals decision last week that he and Common Pleas Judge Michael Sage violated the public records act in withholding the 911 tape containing a confession from defendant Michael Ray."

I see where Port Clinton (Ohio) made the urban dictionary.


It is much easier to obey the Ohio law when it comes to public records than to try to fight it with huge legal fees and court costs. I have posted exceptions when it comes to public records requests with regards to Ohio law enforcement agencies.

your master

Also where the Randelman Dunn dash cam video

your master

The Dunn dash cam video is owed to us we paid for it


Someone asked the question..... Does SR pay for all the man hours and paper for those reports?


The cost of man hours is not included since providing public records is part of the public official's duties. To pay for man hours would be double pay for the public official.



4. Inspection at No Cost During Regular Business Hours see page 14
5. Copies and Delivery or Transmission, “At Cost” see page 15

5. Copies and Delivery or Transmission, “At Cost”
A public office may charge costs for copies and for delivery or transmission, and may require payment of both costs in advance. “At cost” includes the actual cost of making copies, packaging,
postage, and any other costs of the method of delivery or transmission chosen by the requester. The cost of employee time cannot be included in the cost of copies or delivery.


The Chief is arrogant. You can't use the excuse anymore state that you don't have the time to present documents that are requested. The paper is trying to set an example of what the Chief needs to be doing with public records. What is the Chief hiding? The Register should keep asking for every report until the Chief gets the message.



(1) Upon request and subject to division (B)(8) of this section, all public records responsive to the request shall be promptly prepared and made available for inspection to any person at all reasonable times during regular business hours. Subject to division (B)(8) of this section, upon request, a public office or person responsible for public records shall make copies of the requested public record available at cost and within a reasonable period of time....

(3) If a request is ultimately denied, in part or in whole, the public office or the person responsible for the requested public record shall provide the requester with an explanation, including legal authority, setting forth why the request was denied...

(4) Unless specifically required or authorized by state or federal law or in accordance with division (B) of this section, no public office or person responsible for public records may limit or condition the availability of public records by requiring disclosure of the requester's identity or the intended use of the requested public record. Any requirement that the requester disclose the requestor's identity or the intended use of the requested public record constitutes a denial of the request.


If memory serves, this fine fellow was nothing more than the pcpd dog boy. Having a k-9 partner for years may have damaged his human communication skills. Someone should investigate all the money homeland security has provided to Pcpd. And wasn't there something about some dude from homeland security padding his resume to be hired as ottawa county sheriff's captain? Oh where is Eerie Voices when you need them?












"Anderson, the records clerk, said Friday this request is “overly broad or ambiguous.”

Ohio law explains the meaning of "overly broad or ambiguous." Police are supposed to enforce the Ohio laws, not break them or change them.


2) To facilitate broader access to public records, a public office or the person responsible for public records shall organize and maintain public records in a manner that they can be made available for inspection or copying in accordance with division (B) of this section. A public office also shall have available a copy of its CURRENT records retention schedule at a location READILY AVAILABLE to the public. If a requester makes an "ambiguous or overly broad" request or has difficulty in making a request for copies or inspection of public records under this section SUCH that the public office or the person responsible for the requested public record CANNOT reasonably IDENTIFY WHAT public records are being requested, the public office or the person responsible for the requested public record may deny the request but shall provide the requester with an opportunity to revise the request by informing the requester of the manner in which records are maintained by the public office and accessed in the ordinary course of the public office's or person's duties.

What is so hard about asking for one day's worth of police reports? That would only be a few pages and not boxes and boxes of public records.


My father taught me a long time ago this saying "Don't fight with the guy who buys ink by the barrel...YOU will never win." That statement was one I keep in mind whenever dealing with the media as I worked in public service sector.


"The stealth exemption is a nickname for a series of misguided rulings by the Ohio Supreme Court in interpreting Ohio’s open-records law, our most potent catalyst for accountable government.

The court’s rulings have made Ohio the ONLY STATE where citizens must prove that information kept by public agencies is supposed to be open."

"Ohio’s top court has moved that key component of open government back to the 17th century, when England ruled America."

David Marburger, a partner at Baker Hostetler’s principal office in Cleveland, is co-author of Access with Attitude, a book about Ohio’s sunshine laws.

Ohio sends innocent political activists and whistle blowers to prison for trying to expose the truth and also to uncover the corruption in the entire state.

Just Sayin IMHO

The SR asks for records to see what they can put their spin on, I think. I have been reading the paper for over 30 years. It is not the same paper it once was. It is now a few pages of what appears to be more like the National Enquirer. I think the SR is mad that they are not getting their needs met as swiftly as the other police departments do. Now they want to put a spin on it suggesting that we - the people - are not being disclosed about all things. I have police in my neighborhood several times a WEEK! But that is not a good story for the SR. No, they want to post about things that have mud involved. It's sad. And they are in desperate need of a proofreader. Their editor of content is not doing a good job.

dorothy gale



Is it true they are getting a new Walleye for the Walleye drop.

The Rudy

It is abundantly clear that the Register has an anti LE and gov't slant. To deny it is to fool only yourself. I too don't have a lot of faith or trust in the same entities but I don't blame them for blowing you off Matt even though it's illegal. In case you've not noticed the Register takes great pains to paint unfavorably LE and other things it seems to find as part of its apparent agenda. I say apparent because so many people in your circulation area feel that way. Denying it won't change that. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Señor Clown

It's abundantly clear that there are a lot of people who misconstrue the role of the free press as it pertains to the government. A free and independent press, by virtue of it's existence, needs to be vigilant in reporting the abuse or overreach of power by a government entity. Being critical of a government's actions in instances when it need be held accountable is not an anti-government or anti-law enforcement slant.

sandtown born a...


J Cooper

The local press also should be non bias, not always bashing law enforcement.



sandtown born a...

Reading this all I can think is wow how self serving, WAKE UP PEOPLE laws and rules are here for a reason. Agree or disagree with the law or rule is just your opinion. Law enforcement and our public officials are required to follow the laws/rules just as everybody else. The Chief deciding what the public needs to know is so one sided any being truthful can see that. Sounds like the start to a investigation into who he's protecting or what's he hiding??? I personally know nothing of the Chief he might do a great job and take care of his city very well and with crime on a rise the way it is I hope this is the case. Lack of cooperation in this matter just makes him look either LAZY, HAS A HUGE EGO(do what I want} or hes HIDING SOMETHING. The fact that a lot of people think the register is out to bash law enforcement or is a rag of a paper really doesn't matter at all. REMEMBER HE'S REQUIRED TO FOLLOW THE LAWS AND RULES Even if he lives in(the so called/viewed ) upscale Port Clinton


Are some of these reports in the process of being investigated and CAN'T be released? Are they still in the court system? I know this might sound crazy but I’m sure records clerks are busy people, especially bigger departments who get busy this time of year because of tourists. I’m assuming they have to get new reports done and in the system by a certain time for the courts. You expect them to be negligent in the important areas of their job so they can make copies right away for a newspaper that will bash them no matter what they do? Get real. I don’t agree with everything the local police do and how they handle some calls, but cut them some slack. They have a hard enough job to do without you bashing them every chance you get. How about some respect for the people that put their lives on the line to keep the community safe.

sandtown born a...

So basically if I get extremely busy with my job that means I don't have to follow all the rules I am required to follow? We are all spread thin these days but to excuse a neglect of some of your requirements because your busy or because you choose to is a SERIOUS problem. Sounds to most like he wants to censor what the public is told. Good bad or ugly it's all public record unless it's censored by someone who thinks they can. What would be cheaper for the budget spending 5 minutes a day printing these reports or hours/days explaining in a court why you feel its necessary pick and choose what you feel the public should know? Port Clinton remember the very expensive ticket????

Julie R.

Bashing a newspaper for requesting public records? Maybe Hickman should go back to school and learn how to act like a professional. As for some of you commenters that are also bashing the SR, why not stick with a once-a-week newspaper, like maybe the Huron Hometown News or something. Makes everything look like all is fine & dandy in never-never land, which is exactly what law enforcement and public officials want the sheep to believe.


The SR seems to be run by "Mole Hill People".

Mole Hill Person: Show up in the morning and find a mole hill, by the end of the day they turn in into a mountain.

In the news business there is profit in making yourself look good by making someone else look bad.


So does the SR pay "at cost"?

Edwin Ison

Not sure what the big deal is here.... why do the PC police, who are charged with enforcing the law, feel they themselves don't have to follow the laws that govern them in their job duties?
If the Chief has time to FB, he himself could supply the lawfully requested documents.
Why the Register requests PR's is a moot point....follow the law!

dorothy gale

It is my firm belief that law enforcement everywhere is, always has been and always will be, corrupt. It is also apparent to me that the Sandusky Register is a poor example of a NEWSpaper and is on the fast track to becoming a tabloid rag. However, that is irrelevant with regard to law enforcement not abiding by the LAW. As others have asked, what is the PC Chief hiding?

Julie R.

Take it from one in the know ---- when any entity around tries to withhold and/or conceal what should be a matter public record, there's a 99% chance they are covering up something.


Lets do the math. The Register in their article claims that their request would require the PCPD to print off "anywhere from six reports to 20 reports a day".

The Register then states in their article that it "has asked the department to provide full reports for anything listed in the call log."

Reporter Alissa Widman states in her comment that she refined her request to "about 150, about half the total number dispatched in a week"

Remember all of the base numbers are provided by THE SANDUSKY REGISTER OR IT'S EMPLOYEES.

Register's printed claim 6-20 reports a day.

Approx. Number of reports generated in a week at PCPD 300 (150x2=300)

Registers initial request 300 reports a week. This works out to 60 reports a day (300/5=60). This is 300% to 1000% more than the claimed 6-20 reports. Suddenly a BIG difference between what was reported and the actual number!

The Register's revised request: 150 reports for a week. This works out to 30 reports a day 50% to 500% more than the Register claimed in their article.

While you may claim that you and the Sandusky Register do not have an anti-law enforcement bias your actions again and again show otherwise.

The Register stated their request would be for 6-20 reports a day. Their actual requests were for 30-60 reports a day. This is a huge difference that was known or should have been know to the paper, editor, and reporter yet they went ahead and choose to print numbers that are obviously false most likely to mislead their readers fit their anti-law enforcement agenda. Unfortunately this is a pattern with the Register and Mr. Westerhold and when challenged they simply refuse to respond or respond in a condnesending manner and insult the people challenging, and continue their deception. Prior false statements include but are not limited to claiming records as public when they clearly do not meet state law definition and claiming there is a state law that the REQUIRES police to take an incident report before starting an investigation.

While you and the Register say one thing your action show some thing completely different. If you feel so strongly I suggest, as I have before, you put your papers money where your mouth is and file suit for the release of the records. I think, and I bet you a judge would think too, that a record request of every report generated every day every week would be considered over broad and ambiguous. Hence why you will throw your tantrum then slink away and hide from the debate.

Oh I know it's been asked before but you never answered: does the Register pay for the records it requests, or do you expect to get them for free? I await your reply.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks nobody, but you went to a lot of work here to say very little. The information you have provided is inaccurate and it's apparent you don't have an understanding of the code or experience with its enforcement. The Register pays for documents as required and the time it takes for officials to procure them is minimal — whether it's 10 a week or 150 — this is also addressed in the code. It's probably much less than the time it takes to put jokes on the official police department Facebook page. Public agencies are required by law to keep records, have them accessible and provide them upon request. It's pretty straightforward.  And, obviously, the Register isn't slinking away in this instance and nor has it done that previously. 


Matt the base numbers I used were provided either in the Register article or in Ms. Widman's comment. Are you admitting that the Register published inaccurate information? How are they inaccurate? I understand the Code quite well. Your paper will have requested between 7800 (150X52= 7800 Ms. Widman's request) and 15,600 (300X52= 15600 The number requested according to the article) reports from the PCPD this year. That seems overly broad, and I bet a judge will agree if you ever actually file a lawsuit.

I made no mention about the time it takes to process your request each day buy since you brought it up 60 reports (again your requested number) X 3 minutes per report (a conservative estimate) equals 180 minutes or over 1/3 of the records clerks work day, each and every day to satisfy just the Registers daily request. As for the Register not slinking away did you ever file suit, as I suggested, for the letter that was sent to the council members?

Last, and this was the primary point of my comment which you did not even address. Why did you as editor and the Register publish numbers which you knew or had reason to know were false? Your numbers of 6-20 reports per day were very false. Using Ms. Widman's admitted number of 150 being half the reports per week and your papers request of all reports thus a request of 300 reports per week (150X2= 300) your paper was requesting 60 reports per day. 3 to 10 times the number you claimed in this article. Why did the Sandusky Register ignore the true numbers in your request, and publish the false numbers of 6-20 when you knew the true numbers were so much more? I await your reply.

Matt Westerhold

Try to breathe between keystrokes, nobody, lighten up a little. Hit the print button on your computer 150 times, or hit it 1,000 times. The time it takes to do that — to comply with a public records request — is not consequential either way. it is seems disingenuous to claim it is, especially when the police department has time to post jokes at its Facebook page. Providing public records upon request is a requirement of the law. The Register has a right to request the records just as you have the right to request them. It's difficult to know how many reports are produced each week since the police department is improperly withholding those reports. So the number of reports is somewhere between one and many more than that. Your questions all seem to be similar to asking me when I quit beating my wife.  


Except that complying with your over broad request takes more than just hitting print and Im confident that you know that. 3 hours a day is 15hours a week or 780 hours a year. So your request alone would require 4.8 months of the records clerks work time to fulfill. That is very consequential and over broad.

As for my other questions you still have not answered them.
Did you ever file suit to obtain the letter?
Why did you and the Register publish information that you knew was false and inaccurate?


If you truly don't like what the Chief of PC is doing then it is up to you to make the difference. File the complaint with Ohio Attorney General. If there are enough complaints it will force there hand. Its your rights! The Chief runs a police department not your freedoms as an Tax Paying American!


I filed my complaint in 3 minutes online.

Matt Westerhold

The Register notified the Ohio AG's public records mediation service on Saturday of the alleged violations. 

Julie R.

@THEDON: Hey, thanks for that info. I see one can even report scams to the OAG ...... and I sure have enough proof of all the illegal scams that the two courts on the 2nd floor of the corrupt Erie County courts pulled off!


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.


Matt Westerhold, is this true?


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.

Matt Westerhold

Three 'off-topic comments have been removed about one commenter's personal memory when the commenter allegedly worked at the Register. The information he provided was not related to this article and was not accurate.   


The real problem here is that when the Register or other news agencies go to the other surrounding police agencies in the area that agency just hands them a stack of "media release" reports for their person to pilfer through and read. This is because news agencies such as this one would look at the blotter, and instead of doing some work and requesting specific reports they would just request every report. It became easier for the police agency, who has a real purpose, to just hand an entire stack of reports out instead of spending substantial time searching and printing each report.

This isn't a problem in nature, except that they expect every department to roll over in this instance. Port Clinton P.D. clearly does not conform to this, which is well within their right. Port Clinton clearly does not dispute the right and ability to receive police reports, but rather this news agency doesn't want to spend the time doing a Request for Information for the information. It doesn't even sound like you would have to do a formal filing, rather just request the specific report.

If we want to quote the Freedom of Information Act, that act requires governmental agencies to provide unclassified information to the public (in layman's terms). It also requires the public to meet stringent requirements, which may also include filing the CORRECT REQUEST PAPERWORK and MAKING PAYMENT for copies prior to receiving copies of the reports.

In essence, you could just fill out a request, and pay for the copies of the police reports. Would save alot of hours on your end.

Peninsula Pundit

You have to remember the time he showed up for a retirement party for the retiring chief's looking like Don the scruffly beachcomber.
He showed no respect for the chief's position then, but you folks at the Register better Respect His Authority Now!

Peninsula Pundit

"We, the public, are informed and you inform us how you see fit," Courtney Dorreman posted......
She probably thought she was demonstrating what a Great American she is.....
A truly sad commentary on the state of American Citizenship in America today.


"We, the public, are informed and you inform us how you see fit,"

How informed are the people in Port Clinton? I read some of the Port Clinton Police Facebook comments and just shake my head with sadness. Some of these people never bothered to read what is on the Port Clinton Police online site.

Port Clinton's streets are a joke. Some look like part of a war zone. Where is the money for street repair? Why does the police have two water patrol boats and cruise the waters of Lake Erie beyond the city limits? How much money do the tax payers of Port Clinton pay beyond what the grants provided?

"Marine Patrol"

There sure is a lot of duplication of water patrols on Lake Erie. 2 boats, 18 officers patrol all the way to the Canadian border and other points. How much do the citizens of Port Clinton pay beyond what the grants provide?


"The Ottawa County Sheriffs Office has received our yearly Marine Patrol grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft. The amount, $32,000.00, is the largest amount we have received in several years. Those monies, along with donations from the Catawba Island and Danbury Township Trustees, will fund our Marine Patrol"

The Brownie Elf

Maybe I'm ignorant to the whole Erie county way of thinking. But growing up in Cuyahoga county and now living in Medina county, I have never seen anything like this. I've never seen the Plain Dealer, multiple Post's or the Gazette in Medina raise a public outcry over public records' requests. There just seems to be a lack of professionalism with raising this issue in your own paper. Go through the proper AG channels (which it looks like you did) and go from there.

Julie R.

You grew up in Cuyahoga County and you never saw the Plain Dealer raise a public outcry over a public records request? Considering all the corruption that went on in that despicable county for close to 20 years, we already know that.

The Brownie Elf

No, I never did. I'm guessing if they did and didn't get a copy, they went through the proper channels and did not write an article complaining about it.

Julie R.

Remember how the crook Russo testified that the only time they ever worried about getting caught was when reporters from the Plain Dealer came snooping around asking too many questions and requesting public documents? Remember how he said that's when they got busy shredding the documents?

The Brownie Elf



I did a background check on some of the people posting comments in support of withholding public records on the Port Clinton Police Facebook page. Very interesting.

"I've never seen the Plain Dealer, multiple Post's or the Gazette in Medina raise a public outcry over public records' requests"

"Cleveland is slow releasing public records; Columbus often responds immediately"

"The Plain Dealer: Cleveland Heights Denies Plain Dealer's Records Request"

I could go on with the links but I don't want to trip the SPAM filter.

The Brownie Elf

And for some of you can easily quote the ORC which governs public information, maybe you should also be able to quote the laws pertaining to your own conduct. It seems like a lot of people come on here to bash law enforcement probably because you got popped with a speeding ticket or that possession when you had that bag of dope in your center console. Take responsibility for your own actions and don't always blame the police.


"And for some of you can easily quote the ORC which governs public information, maybe you should also be able to quote the laws pertaining to your own conduct."

Which Ohio laws did I violate?

The Brownie Elf

That wasn't directed towards anyone specifically. But I don't know, have you ever broken a law?


"That wasn't directed towards anyone specifically. But I don't know, have you ever broken a law?"

Except for one exception, I was the one providing the ORC. Nope, I have broken no laws. I have been harassed by rogue cops. Are you a cop? Which Ohio laws were broken if your comment was not directed to me? Point out which comments by me or others violated Ohio laws?

The Brownie Elf

My comment was not directed towards anyone or any comment. If you think it's targeting you, my apologies. My history with the people who base their negative opinions on law enforcement usually have broken a law and refuse to take the consequences. They then proceed to news sites or social media sites and write their opinions on how they were wronged. If you have never broken a law, very good. I have broken several, not serious but I have.


Inflated police blotter items?

"Chief’s Blotter – Sunday, June 16th, 2013" Maybe that is the Chief's Blotter and not the official Port Clinton Police blotter.

I see a lot of "fill in" items like security checks and other "fill in" items which are part of the police duties. These are not crime or traffic items.

Here are some Port Clinton police blotter items as reported in the Port Clinton News-Herald April, 16, 2013 which was a Tuesday.

Sunday 15 items
Saturday 18 items
Friday 8 items

I see no "fill in" items like business security checks, media requests, summons, warrants and other items that the Chief included in his Chief's Blotter which was 4 days to inflate the number of items on the police blotter. You people in Port Clinton are so gullible.


The Brownie Elf
Wed, 08/22/2012 - 5:57pm
Ok, how about this. If every government official is crooked and the police are only out to kill people, move! It sounds like a lot of people on here want to start a militia and uprise against our horrible government and police. But you are able to type on your computer and express your thoughts and I assume work for a living while living under this horrendous government.

Why should people move? How about putting the corrupt people into prison?

The Brownie Elf
Wed, 08/22/2012 - 6:00pm
Or better yet, take the next civil service test or federal law enforcment test and do the job yourself. Everyone has a idea of how they would do the job better but instead like to get on newspaper websites and Monday morning quarterback.

I know some good and honest cops and federal agents. The rogue cops go after the honest ones. Sandusky, Ohio once had a very honest police chief. How did you do on your civil service test?

The Brownie Elf

Ok, become a police officer or become involved in federal law enforcement and put the rogue officers away. I had no need to take a civil service test.