Officer Stephen Ritter

In a recent development in the small village of Buckeye Lake in Ohio, Mayor Peggy Wells has accused Police Chief James Hanzey of falsifying records. The allegations were made public in a statement released by the village on September 15, 2021. According to the statement, an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General's Office found that Hanzey had falsified records related to the department's training and certification.

The statement alleges that Hanzey made false claims about the department's compliance with state standards for training and certification, and that he misrepresented the department's compliance with requirements related to the use of force and other policies. The investigation reportedly found that Hanzey had "created fictitious documents and misrepresented the department's training records" in an attempt to cover up the department's noncompliance.

The statement also alleges that Hanzey had failed to properly maintain records related to the department's use of force, including reports and documentation of incidents involving the use of force. This failure, according to the statement, had serious implications for the department's ability to track and address instances of excessive force or other misconduct by officers.

The allegations against Hanzey have sparked controversy and concern in Buckeye Lake, a community that has already experienced significant turmoil in recent years. The village has faced a number of challenges, including a series of high-profile controversies involving the police department and other local officials. In 2018, for example, a police officer was fired for disobeying the mayor's orders during an investigation into the chief of police.

The accusations against Hanzey are particularly significant given the role that the police department plays in maintaining public safety and enforcing the law in Buckeye Lake. Like many small communities, Buckeye Lake has limited resources and depends on the police department to provide effective policing services. If the department's records and training are found to be falsified or inadequate, this could have serious consequences for public safety and community trust.

In response to the allegations, Mayor Wells has called for Hanzey's resignation or termination. She has also requested that the Ohio Attorney General's Office investigate the matter further and take appropriate legal action. Hanzey, for his part, has denied the allegations and expressed confidence in the department's training and certification.