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Poland schools to cooperate with SRO investigation

POLAND — The Poland Local School District “is fully cooperating” in the investigation of a school resource officer.

Interim Superintendent Edwin Holland said in a statement Thursday that “recent news involving the district has been concerning and has been taken very seriously.”

The statement comes after Steve Kent, an officer with the Poland Township Police Department as well as an Austintown Township trustee, was placed on leave Tuesday.

In his statement, Holland did not mention Kent by name. No charges have been filed as of Thursday afternoon.

Kent is not employed by the district as a resource officer. The position is contracted with the township police department.

Once the district learned of allegations, which were not immediately specified Wednesday, “administration contacted law enforcement,” Holland said.

While the school year is over, “the individual is not permitted in any of the school buildings. The safety and well-being of students and staff is top priority in the Poland Local Schools,” and the district takes “all allegations seriously,” Holland stated.

The district will not make further comment on the matter, he added.

Poland police Chief Brian Goodin declined to comment Wednesday, citing the ongoing investigation.

An investigation continues after the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was asked by Goodin to formally assist after a township resident alleged Kent commited a felony offense “while on and off duty,” Goodin said in a letter to BCI.

He asked for BCI to handle the investigation so the department doesn’t investigate one of its own officers.

The special victims unit is investigating the incident.

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