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Someone else should be policing the policemen

April 12, 2009
Morning Journal News

Whenever a policeman gets into trouble he gets more attention than the average Joe. Why? Because policemen, along with judges, clergymen and teachers, are among a select group of occupations which we hold to a higher standard than the rest of the population.

We're also interested to see how the investigators are investigated when the tables are turned. Are they subject to the same degree of scrutiny as the rest of us? Is their punishment comparable to what anyone else would receive?

That's why when law enforcement officers are suspected of any kind of wrongdoing another agency should be called in to conduct the investigation, not the agency that employs them.

Such is the case with the investigation being conducted into the alleged inappropriate use of a department computer by a 28-year member of the Columbiana Police Department.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation needs to be asked to conduct the investigation. Attorney Mike Esposito who acts as the human resources consultant for the city said he was unsure whether any continued investigation would be handled internally or through an outside examination agency. We believe an outside agency is needed.

Salem police called in BCI to investigate the leaking of police report concerning a political candidate to the public prior to last fall's election. And East Liverpool police should have asked BCI to look into allegations that one of its police officers was involved with pipe missing from a school construction site.

The public needs to know that a thorough and unbiased investigation is being conducted into the incident. An internal investigation, no matter how extensive, does not meet this criteria.



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