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Citizen's complaint issued against Stratton, Horst for conduct unbecoming

By Rory Ryan
The Highland County Press

The Highland County Sheriff's Office this week received a Citizen Complaint Form submitted by former Highland County Sheriff Ron Ward. Following a public records request, the HCSO made the information available to The Highland County Press.

In the form submitted this week, Ward responds to a report by another newspaper based on a reporter's interview with Highland County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Brandon Stratton and volunteer HCSO special deputy Tom Horst. Horst is a retired county sheriff. Stratton is running for sheriff against Randy Sanders.

In his complaint, Ward alleges "conduct unbecoming of an officer."

He is requesting an investigation, proper disciplinary action and a public apology.

Ward alleges that both Stratton and Horst this week made appointments with The Highland County Press and another newspaper and "gave patently false information to both papers, in a purposeful effort to damage my reputation and damage the Sanders for Sheriff campaign, in which I am chairman. The information they provided is without merit or truth. The interview with {another paper} was published online and later taken down after it was learned to be false."

The false information in question was not published in The Highland County Press, which also reported the false information to the other paper's owner, prompting its removal.

"It is imperative that a peace officer be truthful at all times, whether on duty or off duty, and conduct such as this cannot be tolerated by the sheriff," Ward said. "I request an investigation into this matter and appropriate discipline be handed out by the sheriff and a formal public apology be issued in an effort to repair damage to my reputation in this community in which I live, work and serve."

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••• Publisher's note: A free press is critical to having well-informed voters and citizens. While some news organizations opt for paid websites or costly paywalls, The Highland County Press has maintained a free newspaper and website for the last 25 years for our community. If you would like to contribute to this service, it would be greatly appreciated. Donations may be made to: The Highland County Press, P.O. Box 849, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133. Please include "for website" on the memo line.


Win Adams (not verified)

17 March 2024

To those of us that have voted early this whole thing becomes very disappointing. Basically it seems that it has become a cluster.
•••• Publisher's note: This race is a perfect example of all that is wrong with early voting.

David Anthony Mayer (not verified)

17 March 2024

End this practice. One reason is misleading mailers,TV ads, radio ads, and social media ads are regularly false. Early voters find out too late about the lies and false statements. They cannot recall their vote. Same with absentee votes. Absentee ballots should be limited to those voters who physically cannot visit the polls in person. And limited to 10 days prior to the election date. Longer for military voters. On vacation? Work around it. With so many low voter turnouts, why should earlier voting exist? The techology exists to vote via the internet. We can bank now for years with two step authentication. A text, email, or an electronic FOB generates a code which has a short life. I used a FOB back in 1998 to login remotely to my major bank employer's network. Use one now for one brokerage account. The security code expires every 30 seconds. The R and D parties do not trust the technology, so they continue a long protracted cat fight over security concerns. Our military uses complex encryption in communations and control over drones and missile launches as examples. I hope you trust that. Apply the most current technology and join the 21st century. Realistically, many of you are technology ignorant. Plus the same for identity theft. As the old saying goes, and it applies here, if you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

Observer (not verified)

17 March 2024

The best thing that can happen in the March 19 primary is for crossover voters to support Randy Sanders. There are no major contested races on the Democrat ballot. Request a Republican ballot and vote for Randy Sanders as a tribute to Betty.

Your vote for Randy Sanders is a vote for him based upon his own merit, honesty and experience. It should not be a tribute to anyone else. He has earned respect and his outstanding, professional reputation through the years by being an outstanding law enforcement officer. Good luck Randy!

Matthew (not verified)

18 March 2024

To begin, I voted really "early" one time. I was 17 years old, and it's one of the things I'm most proud of as an American. Then I voted early 3 weeks ago in Ohio's March 19th primary (when I was 47, haha!). I'm glad I voted for the right candidate for Sheriff and the right man for the job. Randy Sanders has earned my vote, tenfold.

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