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JOHNSTON TWP. Ohio BCI probes police



Published: Fri, April 4, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



A Niles officer is carrying out the administrative duties of police chief.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

JOHNSTON -- The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation has been asked to probe the township police department, but township officials aren't saying exactly why.

"They removed a computer and are determining if some records are missing," said Trustee Dominic Marchese. "I can't say any more at this time."

Marchese said the township's police chief, Robert Ludt, contacted the agency. Neither Ludt, who is also a police officer in Niles, nor BCI could be reached.

Ludt was hired in February to replace Rolland Jones as chief.

Reasons for firing

Trustees say Jones was fired for a number of shortcomings as an administrator, including not attending an appreciation ceremony at a township church, not filing monthly reports and spending $946 over his budget on the DUI Task Force.

Jones, who earned $400 a month as chief since September 1999, said he was not notified of the appreciation ceremony and he was actually under budget on the task force.

Shortly after Jones was fired, the township's nine volunteer patrolmen quit.

"Everything is working out well now," Marchese said. "We have officers out on the road."

Chief's restrictions

The trustee said he doesn't think it's a problem if Ludt works here and in Niles, even though Bruce Simeone, Niles police chief, says Ludt cannot hold two police commissions.

"Nothing has been worked out with us," Simeone said. "We do not allow secondary commissions. We believe that is a conflict of interest."

Simeone said Ludt can do only limited administrative work for Johnston.

Replacement force

According to a fax sent to Trumbull County 911, the township has three new police officers, Dennis Day, a former Trumbull County sheriff's deputy, Burton Miller and Lou Padula.

Day, 49, of Alva N.W., Warren, was fired from the sheriff's department in June 2000 after 25 years.

Sheriff Thomas Altiere said Day was working security for Bristol Local School District while he was supposed to be on duty with the sheriff's department.

Day was indicted on two counts of theft in office from April 18 through May 29, 1999, and from Sept. 5, 1999, to Feb. 20, 2000, but he was acquitted on both counts.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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