Multiple Firearms Found In Crestline Police Chief's Home

  • 9/9/2018 2:12:50 PM
  • Joe Lyons
  • Local News

CRESTLINE, OH -  Firearms belonging to the Village of Crestline were found in the home of Crestline Police Chief Joseph Butler, according to a report received from the Crawford County Sheriff's Office. 

Four firearms belonging to the Village were removed by Chief Deputy Filliater from Chief Butler’s residence including: (1) Taurus .22LR 9 shot revolver, (1) Ruger Carbine .40 caliber semi-auto rifle (no magazine), (2) Colt M16 5.56mm, semi & fully auto rifle, and (l) Magazine for a Colt M16 rifle.

Chief Butler was placed on administrative leave last week. 

A little more than a week into the suspension, details are beginning to emerge despite the lack of transparency from Crestline Village Officials.

The lack of transparency by Village officials has raised several questions among residents, “we were hoping at some point our questions would be answered,” one resident said, “instead, this latest move by the Village to suspend the Chief only adds to the mistrust we already had.”

From the beginning, Village administrators have been less than forth coming in releasing any details about Chief Joe Butler’s suspension. 

Concerned citizens have to question what is really going on? Why was the Chief relived of his duty weapon? Why did city officials request the Crawford County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) assistance in removing the Chief from the property of the Police Department?

These questions and more are being ask by the residents of Crestline, Ohio. Some individuals have lost all trust in Village officials. One comment that stands out to me is, “Someone better be saying just what the hell is going on."

In an effort to get answers, Freedom of Information requests were sent to Crestline Village officials and to the Crawford County Sheriff's Office. One part of the request was fulfilled Friday the 7th of September, by the Village of Crestline. However, the letter of suspension from the Village to the Chief did nothing to answer the resident’s concerns.

On Thursday, August 30, 2018, a letter of suspension was given to Crestline Police Chief Joe Butler which read:

Notification of Administrative Leave

To: Chief Butler

You are hereby notified that you are on paid administrative leave until further notice. Paid Administrative leave is not a disciplinary action and you will receive full pay and benefits while on administrative leave. You are not to report to work while on paid administrative leave. Should we need to contact you during this time; however, for the hours for which you will be paid you must remain available and accessible. Your hours will be Department Administrative work hours 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. You are to remain at your residence or other location identified to and approved by the Village Administrator. Should you need to leave your residence you will be required to notify the Village Administrator to request permission and use appropriate leave.

You are relieved of your duties and authority during the investigation. You are not to contact any employees or staff while on administrative leave nor access any files, networks or records of the Department. You are not to access Department facilities while on administrative leave except as required by Village Administration. You shall not perform any duties, actions or activities of your position while on administrative leave either on or off-duty.

Furthermore, while on Administrative Leave you are to conduct yourself during the hours identified above in accordance with all rules of conduct normally associated with being at work, including, but not limited to maintaining, at all times your ability and availability for work as you could be recalled to work at any time. Once we have completed our review of the matter you will be notified.

During this time, you are not to discuss this situation with anyone other than Village Administration or your personal representative. Please contact the Village Administrator at 419.683.3800 should your address or phone number change or if you have any questions regarding this leave.

Signed: Joy Mile, President

Village officials remain steadfast on answering every question with “No Comment.” Quoting advise from the Village Law Director.

A simple request to the Crawford County Sheriff's Office revealed what really happened on the 30th of August in Crestline.

In a reply to the Freedom of Information request sent to the Crawford County Sheriff, Scott Kent, details were provided which explained what transpired following a request for assistance from Crestline Village Administrator Rob Ratliff.

A report filed by Crawford County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Chad Filliater clearly outlines the unfolding of the Sheriff’s Office involvement.

Chief Deputy Filliater, explains that on August 30, 2018 around 7:45am after arriving at the Sheriff’s Office, he and the Crawford County Sheriff Scott Kent drove to the Village of Crestline’s Administration building.

Sheriff Kent told Chief Deputy Filliater that he was requested by the Village Administrator Rob Ratliff to be present at a meeting with Crestline Police Chief Joe Butler. At this meeting the Village Administration would be placing Chief Butler on administrative leave.

The meeting took place at the Crestline Administration building in the Village Administrator Rob Ratliff’s office around 8:20am. Present were the following: Crawford County Sheriff Scott Kent, Crawford County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Chad Filliater, Village of Crestline Mayor, Allen Moore, Village Administrator, Rob Ratliff, and Village Councilwoman and President, Joy Miley.

The report says, Chief Butler arrived in the office around 8:30am where Mr. Ratliff read Chief Butler the letter stating that he would be placed on paid administrative leave until further notice.  At that time Mr. Ratliff requested for the Sheriff’s Office to secure Chief Butler's duty weapon until further notice. Among the weapons secured by the Sheriff’s office were: A Smith & Wesson M&P .40 Shield, .40 caliber semi-Auto handgun with one (1) magazine and eight (8) rounds of .40 caliber ammunition.

Chief Deputy Filliater commented in the report that Chief Butler left shortly thereafter without incident and as they were walking out of the building, Chief Butler stopped him and said he had additional firearms that belonged to the Village of Crestline at his residence. Furthermore, he did not want them in his possession and asked if Chief Deputy Filliater could take possession of them and give them to the Village Administration.

Four firearms belonging to the Village were removed by Chief Deputy Filliater from Chief Butler’s residence including: (1) Taurus .22LR 9 shot revolver, (1) Ruger Carbine .40 caliber semi-auto rifle (no magazine), (2) Colt M16 5.56mm, semi & fully auto rifle, and (l) Magazine for a Colt M16 rifle.

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