UPDATE: 10/15/2009 AT 7:30 PM
EMAIL FROM CHIEF DEVIES:
I just wanted to clarify that my comments were not to suggest ALL county agencies were ineffectively managed. There are many county agencies I have no experience with and thus have no opinion on. I am also in NO way a spokesperson for the Stark County Police Chief's Association. I support 911 and am not opposed to central dispatch. I am opposed to the management model. In my own opinion I would prefer a system similar to RED Center or Cencom where the users oversee the management of the system and not politicians. But again this is only one police chief's opinion.
Chief Ron Devies
Prosecutor John Ferrero and Police Chief Ron Devies (Marlboro Township) tangle again.
Back in January, 2009 when Ferrero weighed in on the side of Marlboro trustees Tim Wise (the son of a former [retired] Stark County judge and brother of a former Stark County prosecutor) and Dave Wolf over a communication problem involving the termination of Devies' son Kyle as the Township computer system maintainer.
The SCPR has editorialized frequently that it was an outrage that Ferrero, in his role as county prosecutor, let the communication problem escalate into felony criminal charges against Devies and his son.
Ferrero (former Stark County Democratic Party chairman and for whom Tim Wise's brother worked), in the opinion of the SCPR, tried to duck the political ramifications of the Marlboro matter by sending it to a for grand jury consideration. It is a well-known adage that any prosecutor worth his salt can "get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich."
The SCPR believes that Ferrero's handling of the situation reeked of politics. From the outset, yours truly (though an attorney, not a criminal defense attorney) predicted that if the case went to trial, there would be an acquittal.
What Ferrero should have done is brought in an outside Stark County prosecutor to evaluate the Devies situation. His handling of this case was a disservice to the Wise family, the Devies family and to the Stark County public.
Ferrero owes all the aforementioned an apology.
But don't hold your breath for that to happen.
Typically, prosecutors across America want law enforcement officers to build pretty much air tight cases before agreeing to prosecute. In fact, police officials frequently get upset with prosecutors because the officials thing they have worked up a good case; only to have the prosecutor refuse to take the case forward.
The SCPR believes that Ferrero is no exception.
So why didn't he deal with the Devies case proportionally?
Ferrero even sent his "top gun" Dennis Barr in to try the case. That's how into a conviction Ferrero was.
But it didn't work.
Rick Perez (the man who wants to succeed Tim Swanson as Stark County sheriff) did not distinguish himself in his investigation of the Devies father and son and his case fell apart when tried before Judge Lee Sinclair of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas.
Judge Sinclair dismissed all charges at the end of the prosecution's case. Talk about a legal "slam-dunk?" Ohio versus Ron and Kyle Devies is a classic case of "no case."
The best prosecutor in all of America could not have gotten a conviction of the Devises.
Earlier today the Stark County Police Chiefs Association had its monthly meeting at the Amish Door Restaurant in Wilmot (located in extreme southwest Stark County).
One of the agenda items was whether or not the Association would endorse the retention of the county commissioners' imposition of a 0.50 sales/use tax increase in December, 2008.
Who should step up to the microphone?
You've got it. Marlboro Township Police Chief Ron Devies.
Devies tells the SCPR that he opposed endorsing Issue 5 because there is too much inefficiency in Stark County government. Moreover, he says that he told the assembled police chiefs that the only two county agencies which are efficient are the Stark County Crime Lab and the Stark County Parks. In his conversation with The Report, Devies added that he failed but intended to include the Stark County coroner's office.
Although he was not aware of it at the time, Devies says that he was told by other chiefs that upon hearing the Devies evaluation of the quality of Stark County government, Prosecutor Ferrero, visibly upset, got up from his table and left.
One more interesting thing. Ferrero was so upset that he left without paying his bill. The SCPR understands that Ferrero did call back to the restaurant to apologize for not paying his bill.
It is reported that Jackson Chief of Police Harley Nester came to Ferrero's rescue.
Undoubtedly, the folks at the Amish understood the Ferrero goof.
THE FINAL WORD
The failure of the Stark County Police Chiefs Association to endorse Issue 5 could be a serious blow to the issue's chance of surviving the Stark Citizens for the Right to Vote repeal effort.
And it doesn't help that Prosecutor Ferrero (who, The Report, understands does not attend many of the Chiefs' monthly meetings), chose to through a temper tantrum today.
But as the SCPR has written about Ferrero before, it does not appear to yours truly that Ferrero exercises sound jusgment in his capacity as Stark County prosecutor!