Recently, we were asked the following questions regarding abuse in the Lorain County Jail and falsification of reports by corrections staff or deputies. The question was posted by Citizen on Patrol – COP on our campaign Facebook page. Our response follows.
Citizen On Patrol – COP
Lorain County Sheriff’s Office has multiple lawsuits, some Federal Lawsuit, against the department that could cost the Lorain County taxpayers millions of dollars for Human Rights Violations between 2021 – 2023. Beating inmates and falsifying reports to be exact.
It’s so bad the FBI has gotten involved.
- If elected , are you going to fire those Deputies/Corrections Officer who were involved in this abuse and/or for falsifying reports?
- How can you trust or believe these Corrections Officer’s or Deputies after falsifying documents?
- What are you going to do to stop this abuse?
- Are you going to tolerate this behavior from your staff?
- Would you agree to make your Corrections Officer’s and Deputies go through a Mental Health Evaluation every 6 months by a Ohio State Mental Health Doctors or whoever, not in house, to remain employed?
Thank you for your comment.
Thank you for reaching out on our campaign Facebook page regarding a very disturbing topic facing our community.
First, you asked if elected would I fire the deputies / corrections officer who were involved in this abuse and for falsifying reports. My answer includes the following:
1. Unfortunately, I am aware of several cases which involve abuse of prisoners, abuse of citizens and falsification of reports which erode the trust the community should have in the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office. I believe this has created a disturbing culture which has been sustained and not admonished by our current sheriff and his administrative staffs for over the last 23 years.
Each case is comprised of a unique set of facts which lead to optics and allegations against the sheriff, his deputies and corrections officers. It would be foolish and irresponsible of me to state how I would act in each case when I’m not privy to the reports and records which relate to these individual matters. Those of us outside the current organization (public, news media, etc…) find ourselves sharing this lack of knowledge which can lead to reckless speculation.
However, I believe it has taken entirely too long to complete appropriate investigations into each of these separate matters. This is to the detriment of the prisoner, the pubic, the deputies and corrections staff in Lorain County. The lack of a definitive investigative conclusion creates an environment of uncertainty and allows behavior to cascade into further incidents. In other words, we’re lacking expectations and accountability.
If elected, proper and appropriate investigations would need to be re-started in each of these matters by qualified investigators who lack affiliation and bias to each incident. Simply, the truth needs to be sought and found no matter who the truth benefits. I am seeking justice.
If the investigations conclude deputies or corrections officers acted outside the scope of their office and denied Lorain County Jail prisoners of their rights, I would take appropriate corrective action which could include termination and/or prosecution. Additionally, investigative conclusions which identify false allegations against deputies or corrections officers purported by complainants will be handled with the legal remedies available to my office which could lead to prosecution.
2. I will address your falsification questions by stating that officers who lack integrity and purposely falsify records have no place in the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office or law enforcement. Falsification is a very serious offense which has significant consequences under Ohio law – especially for law enforcement.
Investigations of law enforcement officers which conclude that allegations of falsification are sustained by evidence, forever prevents them from testifying as a credible witness in any criminal matter or trial. This investigation conclusion is commonly known as being placed on the Brady List.
A major function of any law enforcement officer is to present facts and provide witness testimony in support of prosecution of criminal offenders. Officers who are identified as Brady-disqualified cannot perform this major function of their job.
Currently, I have found there are 372 law enforcement officers on Ohio’s Brady list including 4 officers from agencies in Lorain County – some of which have resigned.
In short, I state that I couldn’t trust or believe corrections officers or deputies who have falsified documents.
3. You have asked what I would do to stop abuse in the Lorain County Jail if elected.
In my revised rank structure of the administrative staff of the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office I would include the addition of a Corrections Inspector General (CIG). The duty of the CIG would be to investigate each report of civil rights violations, abuse and harassment of inmates and staff of the sheriff’s correctional facilities. The CIG would report directly to the Chief Legal Counsel of the department and would be outside the rank structure of the corrections division.
The CIG would be expected to be a member of the Association of Inspectors General and complete continual professional training for certification of Certified Inspector General. By embracing the inspector general model, I would create a culture which combats waste, fraud and abuse within the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office and the correctional facility.
Overall, we look to the citizens of Lorain County, to whom we are accountable, as the pinnacle of the rank structure of the Sheriff’s Office. I will create an organization whose members are loyal to the citizens of which the office serves and not to any official serving the organization. This creates a culture of excellence and accountability not a culture of corruption.
4. You have asked if behaviors such as abuse and falsification will be tolerated by my office and the answer is absolutely not. However, we will carefully and objectively investigate each claim prior to rendering a conclusion regarding these allegations.
5. You have asked if I would agree to subject corrections officers and deputies to mental health evaluations every six months by an outside mental health professional in order to maintain employment.
Pursuant to state and federal laws, there are two circumstances in which public safety employees (specifically deputies, corrections and dispatchers) may be subject to a mandatory psychological evaluation: pre-employment and fitness for duty determinations.
A fitness for duty evaluation is typically requested to determine whether an incumbent employee has a psychological condition or impairment that my render them unable to safely or effectively perform one or more of their effective job functions. It is considered a medical examination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In order to refer an employee for a fitness for duty examination, I must have an objective and reasonable basis for believing the employee, as a result of psychological condition or impairment (1) may be unable to perform one or more essential job functions or (2) poses a direct threat to themselves or others. An objective basis is one that is not merely speculative but derives from direct observation, credible third-party report or other reliable evidence.
Thus, I cannot mandate a fitness for duty examination every six months as such examinations must be supported by objective and reasonable evidence.
As you can see, I have a strong commitment to making our communities and jail safer, restoring accountability to the sheriff’s office and rebuilding trust in our communities.
I welcome any questions you may have and certainly appreciate the dialog you initiated.
In your service,
Jack M. Hall