Ex-Smith Twp. police chief sentenced to year in prison
By Joe Gorman
Judge Anthony D’Apolito told a former Smith Township police chief he was sentencing in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on theft-in-office and grand theft charges that while he thought a four-year prison sentence requested by prosecutors was excessive, prison time was still necessary.
John Siranovic was sentenced Wednesday to one year in prison after a jury found him guilty.
Judge D’Apolito said because of Siranovic’s previous work as a police officer, the jury verdict sent a strong message that some sort of punishment was necessary because of the trust placed in them by the public.
“If a jury finds they didn’t do that [keep trust], there has to be a punishment,” Judge D’Apolito said.
He did, however, give Siranovic a Nov. 26 report date to turn himself in to begin his sentence.
Siranovic was charged after $10,000 seized in a gambling raid by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation went missing from the police department’s evidence room. Siranovic denied taking the money, but prosecutors insisted he took it because he had the only key to the evidence room.
Assistant Prosecutor Ken Cardinal asked for a four-year prison term for Siranovic, saying he never showed any remorse for the missing money and he also had misused township credit cards.
“This man has breached his fiduciary duty as a township police official,” Cardinal said.
Defense attorney Ed Hartwig asked for probation, which is what a pre-sentence investigation recommended. Hartwig said his client worked for 25 years in law enforcement and never took anything or had a complaint lodged against him.
Hartwig said his client is remorseful because he knows he should have done his job better because the money came up missing. Hartwig said he thinks Siranovic was found guilty because jurors had to hold someone accountable for the missing money.
His client also has already been punished, Hartwig said. He said Siranovic can no longer work in his profession, and the publicity of his trial has bought shame upon him and his family.
Siranovic told the judge he was innocent.
“I can’t be remorseful for a crime I didn’t commit,” Siranovic said.
He did acknowledge he may have been held responsible for the missing money “because of who I am and how I conduct myself. I own that.”