Massillon, OH – The Perry Township Police Department’s chief and most of its officers resigned from police force in the first two weeks of October.
First, Perry Township Police Chief Charles Adams resigned unexpectedly at the township Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 3, just a few months after he took the position, WKEF reported.
"Given certain events over the last two weeks, I don't feel I will be successful in bring the police department up to the standards you should have," the now-former police chief said at the meeting when he offered his resignation.
Former Chief Adams was the second police chief to resign from the Perry Township PD in less than nine months.
When he resigned, the police department had a total of seven part-time officers and zero full-time officers.
In the week that followed the police chief’s resignation, four of the part-time officers also resigned, according to WKEF.
As of Oct. 10, there were no officers actually working at the Perry Township police department and the doors were locked. The only person in the building was a secretary who said no officers were working.
In fact, all four police vehicles belonging to the police force were parked in the station parking lot, confirming her assertion that nobody was on patrol, WKEF reported.
Residents of Perry Township are furious, and showed up at the Board of Trustees meeting to express their displeasure. They questioned what was so wrong that nobody wanted to be a police officer in their community.
“What’s causing all them to resign? What’s the problem lying here? That everyone’s just resigning and quitting that tells me there’s a problem somewhere in the system,” resident Candice Powers asked.
“It’s been terrible,” Ron Price, a new member of the Board of Trustees, told WKEF. “Everybody wants an answer yesterday. Well, the process takes the process. It takes a while to do that. Nothing happens overnight.”
Price, who reportedly drove one of the township’s police SUVs to the meeting, didn’t know what was going on or how they planned to fix it when he was asked by reporters.
“Right now, I’m not really sure. We had some fellas that have turned in some resignations. I don’t know exactly what’s going on yet,” he told WKEF.
Nearby communities’ law enforcement agencies, with whom Perry Township has a mutual aid agreement, have stepped up to the plate multiple times to provide police services for their struggling neighbor over the past year.
“We’ve been kind of keeping an eye on it, especially since it could affect us,” Brookville Police Major Tom Simon told the Dayton Daily News. “With the few officers they have and what little time they’re on the road, we obviously would respond to mutual aid calls out there to assist them until they get there or the sheriff’s office gets there.”
In December of 2017, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Rob Streck temporarily stepped in as police chief of Perry Township in hopes that it would reduce the infighting that led to the problem.
Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said Deputy Streck worked for free for several months until Sheriff Plummer himself intervened and found now-former Chief Adams to take the job, the Dayton Daily News reported.
But Chief Adams only lasted four months after he started.
Maj. Simon told the Dayton Daily News that he met with the chief about a week before he resigned.
“He told us what direction he wanted to go and what he was working on,” the major said. “As far as the issues, I didn’t get into that with him.”
The Montgomery County sheriff said Perry Township needed to find a long-term solution for their police department.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have the resources to continue to cover Perry Twp. [full-time],” Sheriff Plummer said.
Maj. Simon said Brookville, New Lebanon, Jackson Township, and Clay Township would help the sheriff’s office cover Perry Township calls in the short term, but that the township needed to find a solution quickly.
Brookville PD only has 13 full-time officers and 3 part-time officers covering its four square miles. Perry Township covers 36 square miles.
“Perry Township is an entire township, and it’s not a little itty bitty town,” Powers told WKEF. “So it’s very disturbing that we don’t get the police officers that we need.”
The township’s Board of Trustees has said they’re working on the problem.
At the meeting on Wednesday, they blamed limited resources and insufficient funding for their personnel issues.
Price said they planned to hire a new police chief and officers even if a $3 million tax levy for the police is not passed on the November ballot.
“If we need that levy, I will fully support it,” he said.
But not everyone sounded disturbed about the sudden rash of resignations.
"I don't ever like resignations," Perry Township Trustee Dale Seim told WKEF. "There are some circumstances, though."
Perry Township could potentially contract with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for permanent coverage, but the township is located at least 20 minutes from the closest sheriff’s office in Drexel.