Campbell chief placed on leave


story tease

Staff report

CAMPBELL

Police Chief Dennis Puskarcik has been placed on leave after an internal audit found items missing from an evidence locker.

Law Director Brian Macala said Mayor Nick Phillips placed Puskarcik on leave Friday. The chief made $48,000 this year.

Phillips confirmed the chief was on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Lt. Kevin Sferra is leading the investigation into the complaints against the chief. The city did not announce who would head the department in Puskarcik’s absence.

Macala said the audit was done at the request of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation after an allegation was made Puskarcik took something from the locker.

Macala said BCI had asked the city to conduct its own audit first. When that audit was completed, the results were turned over to BCI.

Dan Tierney, a BCI spokesman, said the agency has received information from the city and is reviewing it to determine if BCI will conduct an investigation.

Macala would not say what was missing, but he did say no drugs, guns, or money was taken.

Puskarcik, a former Youngstown police officer, has been chief since January 2017.

If the allegation is substantiated, this will be the second incident involving a city police officer improperly accessing evidence lockers in as many years.

In January 2017, Sgt. David Taybus resigned after being placed on administrative leave during a criminal investigation into his handling of evidence. During that investigation, the station’s evidence room was temporarily sealed off.

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