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Trustee attends meeting amid allegations, probe

AUSTINTOWN — Township trustee Steve Kent, who also serves as a school resource officer for the Poland Township Police Department, was present for Monday night’s trustees meeting despite an ongoing investigation into an allegation against him.

No charges have been filed against him, however a letter penned by Poland Police Chief Brian Goodin to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation asked for BCI’s help “into an allegation made by a Poland Township residence (sic) relative to a Poland Township Police Officer committing a felony offense while on and off duty.”

Kent has been on unpaid administrative leave since last week.

After the meeting, Kent said he could not comment on the investigation, but did say he has retained attorney John Yuhasz as legal counsel during the investigation.

Goodin asked BCI to investigate due to a conflict of interest if the department were to solely handle the probe.

“I believe the proper agency to conduct this investigation is the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation due to the conflict of interest posed by the Poland Township Police Department,” the chief said in his letter.

Kent is a school resource officer, but the leave comes from the police department, not the school district. In a statement from Poland Local School District Interim Superintendent Edwin Holland, he said the district is “fully cooperating with law enforcement while the investigation is being conducted.”

In his statement, Holland did not mention Kent by name.

A special victim’s unit of the BCI is handling the investigation.

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