Men to stand behind

Matt Westerhold
Apr 14, 2014


The guy Huron County sheriff's deputies handcuffed and forced to the floor in his own apartment at 114-1/2 Benedict Ave. on March 25 is the only person providing any credible information about what happened.

Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard declared the operation at Collins' home a success and by-the-book a week after deputies stormed in. But Howard didn't conduct any sort of internal investigation to generate as much as a written statement, a document, a note or any report of his findings.

He just spake them to a local newspaper.

"It's clear my detectives acted in accordance with the law and executed the search warrant (appropriately)," Sheriff Howard told the Norwalk Reflector. "The deputies acted properly and there was no misconduct and it's as simple as that."

It came to him in a dream.

Read the search warrant

Sheriff's Capt. Ted Patrick spoke about the raid, too, providing the same sort of implausible reckoning when questions arose two days after it happened. Eight heavily armed deputies and officers from surrounding communities descended on John Collins' home as he watched TV. 

They cuffed him and pushed him face down to the floor after busting in through his door. They left him there on the floor while they rifled through his house, his drawers, his closet. Some of the officers recognized him, but they wouldn't listen to him when he repeatedly told them they had the wrong guy and the wrong address.

The deputies broke the screen of his Pad, and damaged other property, Collins said.

Patrick denied anything of the kind even happened inside Collins home. calling his complaint a "rumor."

"It's highly inaccurate. It's not factual," Patrick told the Reflector. "We stand behind what we did. I stand behind what our men and women did." 

Collins' ordeal didn't even make the final cut in the incident report Sheriff Howard provided on Tuesday.

"I responded to 114 Benedict Ave. I was advised there were two subjects there that had warrants. When I arrived I arrested Thomas and Patricia Papp... both subjects were transported to jail without incident," states the report, with a scant 117 words total in it, written by Deputy John Vogel.

Read the brief report


What happened to Collins inside his own home is, as if -- abracadabra -- it never even happened.

Sheriff Howard's magic assessment of the perfect execution of a search warrant at 114-1/2 Benedict Ave. in Norwalk is not a new tactic he invented to help convey accurate information to the public. The same sort of "look away" approach appears to be standard practice in Sandusky County.

Move along.

When Craig Burdine died Aug. 11, 2007, at the Sandusky County Jail shortly after being dragged inside by his arms and legs and already suffering severe injuries, a Fremont police detective and a sheriff's captain, now Sheriff Kyle Overmyer, both neglected to investigate how Burdine died.

Each was thinking the other was looking at that part of the death investigation, the actual death. How unfortunate.

Move along.

That excuse doesn't deserve a response; doesn't warrant a reply. Two experienced law enforcement officers both forgot to look into how Craig Burdine died when they were investigating his death while in police custody.

They forgot?

Nothing to see, move along.

Read related articles

Because then Fremont police detective Sean O'Connell and Overmyer both forgot, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has been conducting the only real criminal investigation of Burdine's death to occur.

He's had the investigation for eight months. DeWine said March 13 the investigation would finish up in about two weeks. He's off schedule.

But it's likely determining what happened -- exactly what happened to cause Craig Burdine's death -- will have proved much easier for DeWine's team than the planning that's likely going into how to explain it.

His prosecutors already have provided two pretty lame excuses suggesting they did not want to seek indictments. The civil lawsuit was dismissed, they said, and the burden of proof is much higher for criminal offenses.

Move along.

There might be a problem with the statute of limitations, they told the Burdine family.

Nothing to see here.

The AG's office has come to the rescue in Sandusky County before, and will likely be there for local officials again.

So, if a problem does develop from what happened inside Collins' home, Sheriff Howard might be able to find some friends in Columbus.

Read related articles



Erie County is bordered by four counties, Ottawa, Sandusky, Huron, and Lorain.

The SR figures that going after the Sheriff is its mission.



Paraphrasing Lord Acton, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, whether it be the sheriff, the coroner, or the newspaper editor.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Blue.Streaker, but your comment here has no depth and you don't seem to be able to substantiate any thing you suggest or address the issues being raised. 


Sorry, Matt. I forgot I have to spell things out for you.
1. You have gone after the sheriffs in three of your four neighboring counties.
2. The one county you ignore has a first class newspaper of its own, and you are not going to break into its market.
3. Repeatedly publishing essentially the same story, over and over again, ad nauseum, is not reporting; it is preaching.
4. The Register is becoming the moral equivalent of the Westboro Baptist Church, hiding behind a constitutional right to be offensive and further an agenda of sewing distrust and disharmony.

There. Is that better?


Hey Blue Streaker, just my opinion BUT..... When we stop facing injustices and just say let things be, that is when we truly lose our freedom. Just as you have freedom to read this paper and comment, The Sandusky Register has a legitimate right to ask these question and speculate about our elected officials. The laws are meant to protect US not them, and when they bend the laws for any reason it is a slap in the face of OUR constitutional rights. Bravo for the Register continuing to ask the questions that obviously some people don't want answered


I know. I know.

But I'm just so tired of the sanctimonious self-righteous preaching.

Guess I'll give it a rest for a while.

sandtown born a...

Try turning the page! You are not being forced to read it.

Julie R.

I agree with juggaloben. The Register is the only paper around that DOES ask questions. The other ones sure don't!


duplicate sorry



witch hunter

They also must have figured that they're mission was to report about a sheriff who would stand with a citizen who's son was to be dug up in protest.


AMEN!!!!! Siggsworth earned more than just my respect there!


Soooooo tired of seeing the same stories every day! I know, if you don't like to read them, don't look at them. I think that might be my next just gets old. I could see having a story printed if there was actually some new information, but it is always copy and print! Great article....NOT

witch hunter

Good to hear you have a next step...just us/JUSTICE.

Little Giant

Vendetta against law enforcement? Blue Streaker you mentioned the Register has went after local sheriffs..... you failed to mention that the Ottawa County Sheriff has been convicted and sentenced. Can you explain how the Register got him convicted? Where there is smoke there is fire.

witch hunter

I smell smoke.


This is an opinion piece, not a news story. It is advisable to review the facts of the subject(s) being addressed in the opinion. I, for one, would like to see these issues remain in the paper until the corruption and cover-ups are addressed. Great job, Matt!


I totally agree observer1 !!!!!

witch hunter

As is judge Dale Crawford's opinion that the Jake Limberious grand jury he declared was "perfectly fine" But will he put his name on paper to say it was not in violation of the law! I'am sure Matt will let us know.

Jim Lahey

I like the list idea, so I'll go with that.

1. Huron Co. S.O. served the warrant at the correct address. The rumors were put to bed by the statement made by the sheriff, and he provided the Register with the documentation of the warrant. The only reason why the warrant copy was not provided the moment the paper asked for it was likely because they did not want to compromise the investigation, which of course you don't understand because your not law enforcement, and have no idea what it takes to bring criminals to justice. You want criminals out of your life but you don't want to know how it's done, plain and simple. Also, I'm sure the sheriff did not "look away" : he trusts his deputies and I'm sure he was aware of the situation. Law enforcement are professionals and they should be treated as such, without disrespecting them every time you don't get what you want. Use some logic and understand what it takes to keep people safe.

2. The execution of this search warrant has nothing to do with anything from the Sandusky Co. S.O. or any of their cases. It's absolutely out of line to compare. And the cases you've brought up about the SCSO are up for debate as well. For instance, you keep bringing up Bryan Jones and how there wasn't an investigation in the case, which is completely untrue. BCI processed the scene and concluded that the shooting was justified. The case was reviewed by the prosecutor and submitted to the Grand Jury, and the deputies were cleared of any wrong doing. There is nothing more that can be done, despite the fact that you want every cop raked over the coals every chance you get.

I do not necessarily believe it is the paper's intention to side with criminals, but I think the paper's insatiable need to attack the integrity and ethics of every law enforcement agency in the area overrides common sense. Let the police do their job. Of course a criminal is going to claim police brutality and the violation of their rights because that's what criminals do. Let's not kid ourselves, that is common sense. But there was a list of facts that obviously lead a judge to believe that criminal wrongdoing was done, and he signed the search warrant. Suspects in a home where a search warrant is being executed need to be secured the moment contact is made with them by law enforcement. It keeps EVERYONE safe, and that is the number one priority.

The police risk their lives every day to protect people they may have never met before. I don't expect this paper to understand the gravity of that, but you can at least respect it. I hope this paper can at least take the value from this comment and not see it as an attack, but as a point of contention. Hopefully there can be a level of understanding that is reached at some point.

Darwin's choice

" keeps everyone safe"....Really? "When seconds count,the police are minutes away...."

"police risk their lives everyday to protect people they have never met before"... Pretty broad stroke of the brush.....some do, majority never will.

Police carry weapons for their own protection, not yours.

The police are themselves giving the average citizen reason to watch every move they make.

Look on any of the video online sites to see just how police are acting daily....there are hundreds of examples to view.

Jim Lahey'll be the first to call if you need help. And they will help you none the less.

Darwin's choice

Maybe you're ignorance, I'm capable of protecting myself, however, if I need a report written up, or something for the Insurance co.,I'llcall.

Typical mindset though, you're not indespensible!

Darwin's choice

Another "hero" for you.....

Darwin's choice

Here you go Jim, care to comment?

" More Americans have been killed by cops, in the United States, than soldiers killed in the Iraq war, in the last 10 years!"

witch hunter

Hopefully there can be a level of understanding that is reached at some point."HOPEFULLY"


I agree they should be in the paper, but not a copy and paste of the previous articles. There is nothing new in this story that we already don't know. All of the information in this article has already been published like 100 times.....sometimes I wonder if I need to hit refresh on my computer, same article different day!! What in this article is new news, NOTHING. Same stuff different day, find some more cops to attack or a court, or a judge, or prosecutor, or you get the point! Lol


PEOPLE have had their 5 year old children taught how to masturbate by law enforcement, several have died, illegally restrained and homes broken down, been killed & possibly MURDERED by local law enforcement personnel and there are those complaining that Matt is doing his job? Then the classic "The surrounding counties" statement. DUH, people in Erie County, Sandusky and other local area's TRAVEL IN AND THROUGH those counties where these crimes have been committed, so it DOES concern the Register!

I think your statement should be rephrased to the L.E. and not to Matt. Tell the L.E. officers that your tired of these reports in the Register and you want it stopped by THEM providing requested information with truthful answers!

I for one am impressed with their 'copy and paste' articles that THEY have investigated and printed instead of other papers and other parts of the world. I feel better than ever that the Register has found itself and is doing what a paper does best, KEEP THE DARN GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE.

witch hunter

Providing requested information with truthful answers? Not so hard!

witch hunter

Yes just keep hitting refresh maybe someday you will get it.


Matt, you should become a policeman. You seem to know more than any of them (with the exception of a few, but we won't go there). You seem to know more than most LE, including Sheriff's, local patrol Officers, Coroners, and oh, we cant forget most Prosecutors. I'll admit, I'm no angel, and I've had a few traffic tickets in my life. Never enough to get my license suspended though. I do have the utmost respect for LE, FD, and anybody that puts their life on the line to assure mine is safe.

witch hunter

So let me get this right,You do see that matt know's more than most LE,Sheriff's(with the exception of a few)patrol officers,coroners,and prosecutors? And you do see a problem with that? Or not? And by the why,I think we all have the utmost respect for LE,FD,and anybody that puts their life on the line to assure we are safe.




It's a good word
spake (spāk)
v. Archaic
A past tense of speak.

JMOP's picture

Had to look up that word too. I use the word spoke, from now on I'm gonna use "Spake". Lol


Ok I grew up with relitives that are police officers they have told me that there are some police officers out there that do not follow protocol. Yes I agree we need to let them do their job but when we notice something not right it is good to have someone on our side to get the truth out and the register does that. There are times you given wrong address to go to. But when subject is trying to explain you goy wrong guy and you have officers there that know that and do not say a word that is wrong. Learn from Erie county sheriff on how to conduct yourself and do the job right.

witch hunter

Are your relitives from sandusky Co.? Yes,Learn from Erie county Sheriff! How not to lie, or cover up!

Steve P

Protest to much about the Registers views and find yourself banned from commenting, so much for a free press, I guess it only applies to the management and not the readers.

witch hunter

So what is your view Steve P? Your in luck Steve,you can post your view on the news messenger. You could be the only post.And just maybe someone will read it.But you will need that luck!

Stop It

Haven't you noticed wh? The News Messenger people don't post there. They come to SR.

Darwin's choice

Feds investigating the Police.....wonder how many articles were written about the police there?


It's interesting that when I first question the majority opinion of the SR Staff, including this writer, when they all agreed that the HCSO had "the best of intentions", I was bashed by this very writer, and many others. But now, there's a change of opinion?? Too much heat for not actually doing the investigative reporting? Was there a reason to let the HCSO off the hook, so to speak? The SR has very little credibility and it's a joke reading most things, especially articles of opinion, on here. Blah!

Matt Westerhold

There's not a lot of "investigative reporting" going on here, jeffdsp. An incident occurred. Collins told the Register he was watching TV when it happened and he described what happened. The sheriff and Patrick have provided what they have provided. The Register has requested prior public records related to the Papps, who live next door to Collins and were arrested during the search at Collins' home. Sheriff Howard has not responded to to that request and requests for other related prior and currently generated public records. He's not responding to questions.

Dr. Information

Witch hunt by the SR. If only they would post as many articles about how corrupt this current administration is. Nah, that would be much to easy.

Darwin's choice

There isn't enough ink or paper.....


Witch hunt my a**. Guarantee he will be voted out in 2016. Wanna bet? (Nepotism/GOB)