Wednesday, May 11, 2016



Who can forget the episode in the life of William J. Healy, II as mayor of Canton when he decided to play the role of policeman in making a traffic stop.

On July 2, 2013, Healy used an "unmarked" Canton City Police Department vehicle to stop a motorist who the former mayor spotted running a stop sign.  While he did not issue a citation or arrest the driver, he did express his safety concerns.

And the Ohio attorney general's office cleared Healy of having done anything unlawful.

But it was fun to write about as suggested by this graphic which was the lead on a July 8, 2013 blog.

At the time, Healy was under a great deal of pressure from some Cantonians to beef up policing in Canton to 175 officers.  A number that had been the norm at the time he took office on January 1, 2008.  But over the years of his first term and into the second (January 1, 2012), the number slipped considerably off that 175 standard.

Some of us thought perhaps Healy frustrated in his inability to keep the staffing of the Canton Police Department (CPD) at 175, on July 2, 2013 decided to take matters into his own hands to demonstrate that he was just as into policing and security for Canton as any of his critics if not moreso.

It could be that in his "heart of hearts" he saw himself has a policeman of sorts ensuring the safety and security of all of us.

Well, current mayor Thomas M. Bernabei, who, many of us, fancy to be heads and his shoulders above Healy in terms their respective qualities, demonstrated in the vicinity of the security checkpoint area of Monday night's Canton City Council meeting that he too may possess a "heart of hearts" penchant to be a law enforcement official.

In what turned out to be a humorous incident, as I entered the security checkpoint at Canton City Hall on this past Monday evening, after placing my briefcase containing the SCPR camera and other important material) needed to cover Stark County government and politics, I was notified by
a officer who stood nearby that I needed to be wanded and frisked even though no alarm bells had been triggered.

Knowing Bernabei from the days I have covered him as a Stark County commissioner (mid November, 2010 through December, 31, 2015), I should have known something was up.

During that time span, the SCPR witnessed and recorded many Thomas M. Bernabei's "unique" expressions of humor at the expense of many officials, citizens and media attending Stark County commissioner meetings.

The "real" officer  on duty at the checkpoint asked me to turnaround to be wanded and frisked.

Being the "cut-up" that he often is, guess who stepped in to do the frisking part of the operation?

You've got it!  Canton mayor turned security official Thomas M. Bernabei.

The incident spread like wildfire at Canton City Hall.

Such is life with Mayor Bernabei.

Undoubtedly, those who work with him day-in, day-out have to always be on the lookout for some Bernabei humor and hilarious incidents that I experience Monday evening.

Maybe, just maybe, Thomas M. Bernabei would rather be a policeman as a matter of his "heart of hearts" than mayor of Canton.

But this particular incident may have implications of more than that.

Especially these days.

For Bernabei himself told me that grants providing funding for a number of Canton police officers will be expiring soon.

Could it be that going forward, there will be a real need for the mayor double down at Canton City Council meetings as a security presence?

Just kidding, Tom!

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