Let us begin this week’s offering with two quotes from two respected legal eagles in the city of hills.

First, there are these words of wisdom from the office of Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins: “Those who labor within these halls seek only the truth.”

Next, there is this gem from Highland County Judge Kevin L. Greer, as spoken at The Highland County Press office on April 9 and quoting President John Adams: “We are a nation of laws.”

Do me a favor, if you will, and accept these comments as a preface to today’s opinion.

From the late Big Bill Woolard, until today, I think I have known – for one reason or another – almost every Hillsboro chief of police for the last 40-plus years. I believe that Bill’s job as police chief most likely was the toughest. After all, he was chief of police back when uptown Hillsboro had as many or more bars as law offices.

When Bill – who stood about 6’6 and weighed around 300 pounds – was called to break up a fight, his presence was all that was needed. If you knew Bill, you’d understand.

Of the many police chiefs who’ve followed Bill, I can say that I’ve never met recently departed Darrin Goudy – or as some call him, No. 5.

He may have been an admirable police officer at one time. But from what some city officials have said since his recent departure, that’s up for debate. He seems to have squandered the public’s trust.

Public officials – especially those entrusted with law enforcement – are rightfully held to high standards. When a public official brings suspicion on his or her office, it’s bad – and costly – for all of us. Moreover, when those in charge of that public official seek to sweep his or her actions under the rug, it exacerbates the matter.

How are private citizens and the taxpaying public supposed to have respect for and confidence in the legal system when those in power abuse it – and often without penalty?

Since this newspaper first reported on the former Hillsboro police chief’s situation, the city’s response has changed repeatedly. There’s something absolutely wrong with that.

For what little it is worth, I shared this nonsense with Ohio Auditor Keith Faber and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. I doubt very much that either state Republican office holder gives a royal damn about what passes for “good” government in Hillsboro. They are both far too busy padding their own political accolades.

This week, Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins took the proverbial bull by the horns and sought action by the city, saying, in essence, that failing to report a crime is in itself a crime. Good for her.

If there is evidence of wrongful action, the city is obligated to pursue it. For all the politically convenient talk of “transparency,” more often than not, it is pure posturing. Actions speak louder than words.

Far too often, those in public office seek the most expedient and least embarrassing solution to their own problems – all at taxpayers’ expense. Meanwhile, when private citizens come into confrontation with the so-called rule of law, they are prosecuted. They don’t have the luxury of a friend in public office or the most popular political party.

And let’s face it, those so-called friends are much more concerned with their own well-paid jobs at our expense than anything else.

Collins deserves credit for seeking an investigation of the former Hillsboro police chief. The Highland County Sheriff’s Office – or another law enforcement agent – must follow through. Otherwise, Hillsboro’s No. 5 is free to seek employment elsewhere.

This issue needs a thorough investigation. Granted, taxpayers will pay for it. But it will be a small price compared to the enablers and their cost to us. There’s a reason Hillsboro has had six police chiefs in seven years.

Maybe the city and the Highland County Republican Party will wake up some day. But I wouldn’t count on it. They loved imprisoned BFF Bob Lambert, too, didn’t they? Lesson not learned.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.