Leadership starts at the top. In Hamilton County, the incompetence and lack of professionalism from Sheriff Simon Leis has increasingly put citizen safety at risk. Recent discoveries bring to light the chaos and poor discipline inside the Sheriff's Department.
The first in a series of Enquirer articles about the Sheriff's Department introduces us to deeply disturbing abuse perpetrated by Hamilton County Deputies. As John Harmon was driving home from working and suffering diabetic shock, he was pulled over by deputies. What happened next should never happen to anyone.
Deputies proceeded to smash Harmon's windows, Tase him SEVEN times, then pummel him some more. He suffered a severely dislocated elbow as well as shoulder and thumb injuries. Harmon may have been injured worse, possibly even killed, had State Highway Patrolman Chris Sanger not arrived on the scene. Sanger had to physically stop two of the deputies from further abusing Harmon. As a subsequent Enquirer editorial stated, "What's most troubling is that had an Ohio State Highway Patrol officer not come upon the scene and expressed his concerns to his supervisors, Harmon could have been hurt more severely and the full incident might not have come to light."
Further discoveries lead any reasonable person to wonder if this behavior isn't common inside the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department. Indeed, the same editorial remarked, "it's clear the public has reason to at least wonder not only whether the deputies were disciplined sufficiently, but whether the department is doing all it can to maintain a culture in which citizens are treated with as much restraint and respect as possible."
For the worst of these deputies, John Haynes, incidents such as this one are all-too common. During one investigation, Haynes was described by his fellow deputies as, "basically out of control" and that "it is only a matter of time before Haynes seriously hurts or kills someone". The Madeira Police Department ordered its officers to "steer clear" of Haynes, with a lieutenant stating, "It is only a matter of time before something bad happens." He further stated that Haynes was "a lawsuit waiting to happen" who manages to have "gunpoint" incidents daily.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this ordeal is that it could have been avoided if Hamilton County had a Sheriff with common sense. It has now come out that Haynes was fired from a Northern Kentucky police department before being hired by Simon Leis. One has to wonder why Leis hired an individual who was already proven to be unfit for the job. In addition, why was Haynes moved around from post to post as these incidents piled up instead of taken off the street?
We will have to hope that the Democratic AND Republican parties will each search for a qualified candidate for Sheriff in 2012. The incompetence, poor discipline, and lack of professionalism of Sheriff Simon Leis needlessly endangers Hamilton County citizens. Leadership comes from the top. When you have a Sheriff who is incapable of performing his job duties with competence and professionalism, you will have deputies who behave the same.