City settles with former WPD admin

By Tom Barr -

WILMINGTON — The City of Wilmington and a former Wilmington Police Department administrative assistant agreed to a $155,000 settlement.

In a document signed by both parties on May 15, Anna Collins also agreed to submit a letter of resignation from her position with the city.

The document, provided to the News Journal upon request to the city, releases the city from any future claims by Collins, who by terms of the document is prohibited from bringing any future claims against the city. It also specifies that all parties to the document agree that terms will remain strictly confidential, and if any of those parties are contacted, they must reply with “no comment” or “the matter is over.”

The city did not provide the circumstances leading up to the settlement nor the reasons for settling with Collins, nor if the funds came directly from the city or from insurance.

In the agreement, the Miami Valley Risk Management Association is also released from any future claims by Collins. The MVRMA is a consortium of municipalities in southwest Ohio which “addresses its members’ risk management and risk financing needs by providing a combination of self insurance and commercial insurance/reinsurance for members’ property and casualty exposure” according to its website.

The agreement stipulates “Collins acknowledges that Releasees (the city and the MVRMA) deny liability and responsibility for any and all claims asserted by Collins, and further acknowledges that the payment of the foregoing sum shall not be construed as an admission of liability and is solely paid to preclude litigation expense. Collins acknowledges further that this settlement is based upon a good faith determination of the Parties to resolve a disputed claim.”

The News Journal reported in late 2018 that several WPD officers as well as Collins were under investigation for alleged misconduct and were placed on paid administrative leave. Eventually officers Jerry Popp and Anthony Mitchell would resign from the WPD with no known admissions of wrongdoing by either of them nor any charges or claims filed against those officers.

WPD Det. Joshua Riley also resigned in April 2020, stating “I intend to retire from service as a police officer.” A charge of dereliction of duty filed against Riley in May 2020 is currently being adjudicated in Clinton County Municipal Court. Riley has entered a plea of not guilty.

The city stated in early 2019 that “the city has been advised by its legal counsel not to discuss specific allegations against employees until the completion of investigations.”

Also in early 2019 then-chief Duane Weyand resigned, with the city emphasizing then that he was not being investigated for, nor suspected of, any criminal wrongdoing.

The city stated in 2019 that police department policies and procedures were under thorough review. After serving as interim police chief for several months, longtime WPD officer Sgt. Ron Cravens was named chief of police in November 2019.

“We depend on our police department to help provide a safe environment for the community, and the city is committed to protecting the integrity of our department and the faith and trust that our citizens place in it,” mayor John Stanforth had stated in early 2019. “The City of Wilmington takes all allegations of misconduct against employees very seriously, which is why we have sought independent investigations into allegations against our officers and staff.”

By Tom Barr