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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Colerain Township to End Contract with Sheriffs Office

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- Colerain Twp. will no longer contract with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office to provide patrol services starting in January 2014.
"I think it's in the best interest of this township and its citizens for us to take a break from this agreement," said Jim Rowan, Colerain Twp. administrator.

Colerain Twp. has paid the sheriff's office $376,000 per year for patrol services. The sheriff used to provide 13 deputies for that amount but reduced the number to six due to budget cuts over the last several years.

Colerain Twp. has its own police department. To fill the gap left by the loss of the six deputies, the township is promoting eight volunteer reserve officers to full-time and part-time positions.

"All this is a vote to stop giving extra funds on top of our taxpayer dollars that we already give to the sheriff's department," said township trustee Melinda Rinehart.

Rowan said the relationship with the sheriff's office was "strained" under former Sheriff Simon Leis and the relationship hasn't improved under Sheriff Jim Neil. Township officials said the tension came to a head last summer when some deputies spoke out about ending the contract at a town hall meeting. Sheriff Neil did not attend that meeting.

"Quite honestly the beginning of the end for me was at our town hall meeting last June when I heard a lot of comments from the command staff of that department that I thought bordered on unprofessional and amateurish," said trustee Jeff Ritter.

Chief Deputy Mark Schoonover, who attended that meeting, defended the deputies. He said they feared they would lose their jobs.

"To call the sheriff's office amateurish for having officers there that were concerned about their jobs I don't understand that and I disagree with the comments," Schoonover said.

Rowan said the township will save $4,000 per year by hiring the reserve officers.  He said residents should not notice a difference in the level of service they receive.

"We have our own detectives, we have our own crime unit employees. We have mutual aid agreements. If we have a homicide we're doing those cases right now in house," Rowan said.

While the contract may be ending, Sheriff Jim Neil said deputies will still patrol parts of the township that they would patrol even if the contract wasn't in place. He said the six deputies who worked in Colerain Twp. will not be laid off. They will be reassigned.

"It's not going to change the fact that my duty is to provide services to the people of Hamilton County and Colerain Twp. My mother lives in Colerain Twp.," Sheriff Neil said.

Video HERE



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