CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (WTVN) -- A police chief in southern Ohio says he's frustrated with how a recent court case was handled and he'd like to see changes.
Michael Colvin was brought in to Chillicothe Municipal Court after being cited for having junk cars on his property. It's just the latest in nearly 300 violations against Colvin since 2000. So Chillicothe Police Chief Roger Moore was pretty frustrated when a plea deal included suspension of fines against Colvin in exchange for a guilty plea. Colvin still has to pay for towing and court costs.
"We need the judicial system to help us keep people to follow the laws in this community. If that doesn't happen then what's the point of law enforcement," said Moore who after talking with the judge quickly left the courtroom, tossing a case file onto a table as he walked out. The file fell and hit the floor.
Some are calling this the latest example of Moore's bad behavior. The chief is no stranger to making headlines for his actions in recent years, but this time Chillicothe Mayor Jack Everson feels a mountain is being made out of a mole hill.
"He's frustrated and quite frankly I'm frustrated," Everson said. "This is something where if we're going to send the message that crime is not okay to commit there's got to be some stick with the carrot."
Moore is also upset that the situation in the courtroom is overshadowing what he sees as a bigger issue. In the Colvin case, the fine would have gone to the city's general fund which helps pay for police and fire.
Chillicothe Law Director Sherri Rutherford defended the plea deal. She says the fine would likely have only been about $25.
"We did our job that day, the next day, and we will continue to do our job as we see fit," she said.
She didn't want to talk much about the situation in the courtroom on Monday. She says she's not asking the mayor or other city leaders to look further into the chief's actions, but she adds it's not unusual for people to get upset at the result of a court case, however it is odd to see it happen to a law enforcement officer.
Rutherford says if the chief is frustrated about the way criminals are treated in court he should be focusing that in another area. She says overcrowded jails and changes to classifications of some felonies as misdemeanors along with an increasing case load leaves her office with no choice but to cut some of these deals. She says the solution will need to come from a lot of different people.
"We're still going to prosecute cases. I think we do a good job of that and we're still going to use our independent judgment on how to do that," she said.