WILMINGTON — There are four investigations related to the Wilmington Police Department now underway involving two current officers, a former patrol officer, and an administrative assistant.
In the wake of the multiple investigations, Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth announced that Police Chief Duane Weyand was placed on administrative leave pending the outcomes of the investigations and a review of internal procedures.
Stanforth said separate investigations of alleged misconduct involve current police officers Josh Riley and Anthony Mitchell, who both are on paid administrative leave, former officer Jerry Popp, and Anna Collins, the department’s administrative assistant, who has been placed on paid administrative leave, too.
The decision to have the police chief also go on administrative leave is in accord with the advice of the City’s legal counsel, Brett Geary of the Columbus-area firm Clemans Nelson & Associates, said Stanforth.
The mayor said he wants to emphasize that there is no criminal investigation being conducted of the police chief.
What will occur in relation to Chief Weyand, said Stanforth, is a review of internal procedures at the police department to understand how it came about that there are three current members and one recently departed member of the department being investigated.
In short, how did we get here, said Stanforth.
“If I can use the football analogy: The players aren’t playing well. The coach always takes the heat.”
A City of Wilmington news release stated the city has been advised by its legal counsel not to discuss specific allegations against employees until the completion of investigations.
Stanforth said, “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.”
The News Journal reported in late December that the Wilmington Police Department received a complaint of alleged misconduct, and as a result of that complaint, Chief Detective Josh Riley was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation of the allegations by an outside agency.
Weyand said in late December that, “Currently, the [Riley] matter is an ongoing investigation with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and no conclusive findings have been made as of this date; therefore, to ensure the legitimacy of the investigation, the City can only direct requests for additional information to that office.”
The News Journal reported in early December that now former officer and K9 handler Jerry Popp had left the WPD to “pursue other opportunities.”
On Wednesday, Stanforth said Sgt. Ron Cravens has been appointed acting chief. A department employee since 1999, Cravens was named Officer of the Year in 2017.
With Riley, Mitchell and Weyand all currently unavailable, the mayor was asked whether the public should be concerned the police force is short-handed.
According to the mayor, the various shifts are covered with a safe number of officers because some police personnel have been “jockeyed around to different shifts.” He added some officers are working overtime.
Somebody is lined up to go to the police academy in order to fill the open spot on the roster left by Popp’s departure, according to the mayor’s office.
The mayor stated in the news release, “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.”
The City’s news release about the police department came out Wednesday, and Weyand was placed on administrative leave Tuesday.
At city hall on Wednesday, Stanforth said, “It was a tough day yesterday when this had to come down. I have a tremendous respect for [Chief of Police] Duane. Just a good, self-made person.”