Darrin Goudy
Darrin Goudy

Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins has advised the city of Hillsboro to refer the case of former Hillsboro Police Chief Darrin Goudy to the Highland County Sheriff's Office for investigation.

In recent communications between the prosecutor and Hillsboro safety and service director Mel McKenzie, Collins advised that "failure to report a felony is a crime."

"I have advised Mel McKenzie to report this to the Highland County Sheriff's Office, and I have advised the sheriff's office that it will be reported," Collins said on Monday, April 8.

The issue has been reported to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber. Neither office has responded.

One week after The Highland County Press reported (on March 27) that Goudy was placed on administrative leave, the city administration made a comment Wednesday, April 3 on Goudy’s resignation.

Goudy was placed on administrative leave by the city March 27. Two days later, the city sent an announcement that Goudy had submitted his resignation to the city of Hillsboro.

On April 3, McKenzie clarified that the three-day period in which Goudy was gone was actually classified as “vacation days.”

McKenzie said Goudy’s resignation “was due to instances that were brought to my attention where he called in sick and were recorded on daily dispatcher duty logs as sick days but time sheets turned into payroll did not represent those days as such.”

“The chief is a salaried position yet accrued sick leave,” McKenzie said. “This accrual, accompanied with the misrepresentation on time sheets, is where the issue lies. Even though his sick leave bank was adjusted to make up for the days not reported on his time sheet, it becomes an issue that cannot be overlooked, and his resignation or firing with the possibility of charges were the only options legal [counsel] said we had.

“Chief Goudy chose to voluntarily resign, and the days he was off last week, March 27-29, were taken as vacation days he had accrued, not administrative leave as previously reported.”

Goudy was named Hillsboro police chief in November 2017, becoming the city’s fifth police chief since 2012. Goudy was the fifth police chief – including interim chiefs – during Drew Hastings’ seven years as mayor, following chiefs Nick Thompson, Todd Whited, Steven Browder and Shawn Kelley. The city also has had four different safety and service directors since 2012.

The city also released a statement last week announcing longtime Hillsboro police officer and systems administrator Eric Daniels as interim police chief.

According to the city of Hillsboro, Daniels is a Chillicothe native who served six years in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a Persian Gulf veteran. He was hired by the city in 1997 as a patrol officer and has also served as Hillsboro systems administrator since 2005. Daniels has earned an associate’s in law enforcement technology, a bachelor’s in criminal justice, and a master’s in computer information systems.

The Highland County Press asked Daniels last week how long he would be serving as the interim chief of police during Chief Goudy's administrative leave. In a one-word answer, Daniels said it is “undetermined.”

McKenzie said that at this time, the city does “not have a time frame for hiring a new chief.”

“We will have to explore our options and follow the proper civil service steps for hiring,” McKenzie said. “As with any job vacancy, it will be offered internally first, but that does not mean we have to hire from within. If an internal search does not bring forward a suitable candidate, then naturally it will be posted for the outside applicants.”

Daniels “was chosen to serve as the interim chief based on a plethora of qualifications,” including his three degrees, McKenzie said.

“Above all of that is Eric’s institutional knowledge of the Department, having been a patrol officer there from 1997-2005 and a reserve officer from 2005 until being recently named interim chief,” McKenzie said. “Eric’s experience of managing a department’s budget is also a big benefit in having him step in and help the City.

“Eric has a selfless attitude, and his response when asked if he would be interested in serving as interim chief was, ‘I will do anything you need me to do to help the city for however long you need me.’ As an employer, you don’t always get that attitude, but we are very fortunate as a city to have a great group of employees that I can honestly say are here to help in any way they can.”

Related column: https://highlandcountypress.com/Content/Opinions/Rory-Ryan/Article/-We-are-a-nation-of-laws-/4/83/49824