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Fairfield police chief to retire in February

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 6:30 AM
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 11:57 AM


            Fairfield Police Chief Mike Dickey will retire in February 2018 after nearly two decades leading the city of Fairfield Police Department. Dickey, 70, who was formerly the police chief of Englewood, started with the Fairfield department in June 1999. STAFF FILE PHOTO
Fairfield Police Chief Mike Dickey will retire in February 2018 after nearly two decades leading the city of Fairfield Police Department. Dickey, 70, who was formerly the police chief of Englewood, started with the Fairfield department in June 1999. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Fairfield Police Chief Mike Dickey has turned in his resignation.

Dickey’s last day on the job will be Feb. 26, 2018, which is also when City Council plans to formally hire a new police chief, the Journal-News has learned.

RELATED: Noted anti-bullying expert has tough love for Fairfield students

The first job postings went out to the Ohio Police Chief’s Association on Thursday.

“It’s bitter-sweet,” said City Manager Mark Wendling, who called Dickey a “transformative chief.”

“He’s really modernized the department, brought in accreditation, and he’s really transformed this department into one of the most respected in the region,” he said.

Dickey, who has been in law enforcement for 48 years, says it’s time for him to step down.

“It’s something that (my wife) Susan and I have been discussing for a long time, and it’s nothing more than it is the right decision at the right time,” Dickey said. “It’s just time to pass the baton.”

Over his tenure, Dickey led the department to achieve accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and oversaw the construction of Fairfield’s Justice Center more than a decade ago.

Accreditation is something that City Council wanted to see the police department achieved, said Mayor Steve Miller, who was a city councilman when Dickey was hired.

“That was something we as a council wanted at the time,” he said. “We wanted to become accredited.”

RELATED: Fairfield residents needed to serve on various boards

Accreditation provides the department with a set of standards similar, if not identical, to standards of other police departments, said Miller.

Dickey was hired in June 1999 following the resignation of former police chief Gary Rednour in November 1998. He was selected out of nearly 90 applicants, including then-acting chief Richard St. John.

Dickey, an Air Force veteran, was the Englewood police chief for the better part of a decade and was the police chief and village administrator in New Lebanon. He served as a deputy sheriff, corporal and detective over a 12-year career with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

“Mike’s been here a long time and I think he’s done a good job,” Miller said. “He came into a police department that was good and I think he made it better.”

Under his watch, Miller said Dickey has made some good hires over the years, and “he’s stacked the deck.”

“He’s got some people who should help the next chief,” he said.

Dickey said he has a “great respect and love” for law enforcement and being the chief in Fairfield — which he called “a great community” — has been “personally satisfying.”

“It’s been the best years of my life and I’ve been able to do something I’ve absolutely loved,” he said. “I didn’t have a day I didn’t look forward to going to work. From that perspective, it’s bitter-sweet.”

Wendling said candidates, likely by December, will go through an assessment and the top five will be interviewed. Interviews could happen after the first of the year.

Wendling said there is at least one viable internal candidate for the job, but declined to elaborate further.

Dayton mayor responds to lawmaker going after city’s traffic cameras

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 11:10 AM
Updated: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 4:16 PM

Ohio lawmakers going after cities that use red-light, traffic cameras
Ohio lawmakers going after cities that use red-light, traffic cameras

Like many Ohio motorists, state Rep. Bill Seitz doesn’t like traffic cameras — not one bit.

The long-time legislator authored an anti-traffic camera law that the Ohio Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional. Undeterred, the Cincinnati Republican crafted another bill designed to make it far more expensive for cities to use the cameras.

Related: Cities can turn red light cameras back on, court rules; state threatens to fight back

Seitz and state Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, are sponsoring House Bill 410, which would require cities to file all traffic camera cases in municipal court and would reduce state funding to cities by the same amount cities collect in traffic camera revenue.

“They have to pay the filing fee, bring in a lawyer and prove their case in court. No more administrative hearings where some employee of the city sits there and the poor motorist has to, in effect, proove his innocence in order to be acquited of the civil citation,” Seitz said.

Under Seitz’ bill, the state will cut Local Government Fund money flowing to cities that use traffic enforcement cameras. “The mayor of Dayton has long protested that this is all about safety and not about revenue. I will take her at her word. Okay, we will make sure it is about safety and not about revenue because the LGF offset will take the profit out of policing for profit,” he said.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democrat running for governor, said “He doesn’t like the result from the Ohio Supreme Court so he’s ignoring it. It’s just another example of state government not allowing local communities make their own decisions.”

Ohio Municipal League Director Kent Scarrett said the league opposes the bill. “It seems to penalize those who are trying to employ technology and safety measures,” he said. “We think it’s not necessary and it just gets in the way for us to fund services in a predicable manner.”

Previously, Seitz pushed through a law that required cities using traffic cameras to station a full-time police officer with each camera in use; conduct a three-year traffic study before deploying a camera; give speeders a “leeway” before issuing tickets.

Related: Cities fear rise in accidents if traffic camera use ends

Dayton challenged the 2015 law in court.

In a 5-2 decision issued in July, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that that law conflicts with cities’ home-rule authority. The Ohio Constitution gives municipalities self-governance powers as long as local ordinances don’t conflict with the state’s general laws.

Related: Dayton to activate red light cameras again

At the time of the supreme court ruling, Seitz promised that lawmakers would consider new legislation requiring cities go through municipal courts instead of an administrative process for tickets issued via traffic camera enforcement programs.

Seitz, who received a ticket when a camera caught him rolling through a right turn at a red light in Columbus, noted that lawmakers approved restrictions on photo enforcement cameras in 2006 and 2014 and voters in Cincinnati and Cleveland overwhelmingly approved limits or bans.

“It’s not just me. It’s my colleagues in the General Assembly. And it’s the people in the state of Ohio who have been given the opportunity to vote on it.”

Driver, dog killed in 3-vehicle crash in Greene County

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 12:54 PM

SKY 7 FOOTAGE: Driver, dog killed in 3-vehicle crash in Greene County

UPDATE@2 p.m.:

The motorist killed in the crash has been identified as a 25-year-old man whose name has not been released. 

He was traveling east on Clifton Road in an SUV when he drove in front of a dump truck that was northbound on state Route 72. The dump truck struck and pushed the SUV in front of a southbound semi, killing the 25-year-old man and one of his two dogs, police said.

Neither of the other two drivers was injured. 

UPDATE @ 1:14 p.m.:

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers confirmed a male driver and a small dog inside a SUV died at the scene of a three vehicle crash in Miami Twp. in Greene County Wednesday afternoon.

The accident occurred shortly after noon at the intersection of SR 72 and S. River Road. 

S.R. 72 and S. River Rd. in Miami Twp. in Greene County. A three vehicle crash is reported. Google Map

Our reporter on scene said it appears the SUV became sandwiched between a semi truck and a dump truck.

We will continue to update this site with new details.

FIRST REPORT

A semi truck, dump truck and SUV have reportedly collided near the intersection of S.R. 72 and S. River Rd. in Greene County.

The driver of the SUV is unconscious, according to dispatchers, and a dog in the car is severely injured.

Check the Thanksgiving Travel Forecast for the region

A medical helicopter has been put on standby, and traffic is being diverted from the area.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

Check this site for new information as it becomes available.

Paid suspension for local teacher accused in fatal hit-and-run crash

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 5:41 PM
Updated: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 6:52 AM

Kristine Baggs was arraigned in Clark County Common Pleas Court.

UPDATE @ 1:00p.m. (Nov. 22):

Kristine Baggs, a Kenton Ridge High School science teacher, has been put on paid administrative suspension according to Northeastern School District officials Wednesday after making her first court appearance.

Baggs is facing charges related to a deadly hit and run pedestrian accident that killed Lawrence Mason, 45, of Medway, in September 2016.

The Ohio Attorney General prosecutor on the case against Baggs spoke about the charges filed against the educator in court Wednesday. 

Paid suspension for local teacher accused in fatal hit-and-run crash

“These are very serious charges,” prosecutor Leigh Bayer said. 

She asked the court to handle Kristine Baggs’ case like the court has handled similar cases in Clark County. 

"There was a victim who died as a result of being hit by a car driven by Ms. Baggs," Bayer said in court. "And the car was hidden from view several days afterward." 

She also asked that Baggs not be allowed in any establishment that serves alcohol as a condition of her bond. 

Baggs doesn’t admit to the allegations, her defense attorney Richard Mayhall said in court. He asked the court to release her on her own recognizes bond. 

“She has been employed as a teacher in Clark County for the last 15 years,” Mayhall said. “She’s married, she has two children, she has no prior record. Since this incident occurred nearly 15 months ago, she has had no other allegations.” 

A magistrate set Baggs’ bond at $100,000. 

UPDATE @ 12:00 p.m. (Nov. 22):

Kristine Baggs, a Kenton Ridge High School science teacher, has been put on paid administrative suspension according to Northeastern School District officials Wednesday.

Baggs made her first court appearance Wednesday morning on charges related to a deadly hit and run pedestrian accident that killed Lawrence Mason, 45, of Medway, in September 2016.

UPDATE @ 10:57 a.m. (Nov. 22):

Kristine M. Baggs appeared in court Wednesday morning for her arraignment.

Baggs pleaded not guilty and bond was set at $100,000.

UPDATE @ 6:53 a.m. (Nov. 21)

Our newsroom is working to gather more information on the arrest of Kristine M. Baggs, 40, of Springfield. She was booked into Clark County Jail Monday afternoon around 5 p.m. 

Kristine Baggs (Contributed Photo)

She is listed as a teacher in family and consumer science at Kenton Ridge High School. She made $52,788 in 2016, according to the Dayton Daily News and Springfield News-Sun Payroll Project.

EARLIER REPORT (Nov. 20)

A Northeastern School District teacher has been indicted in a deadly hit and run pedestrian accident that killed a man standing on North Tecumseh Road in Bethel Twp. last year.

Kristine Baggs is charged with failure to stop after an accident, tampering with evidence and two counts of vehicular manslaughter, according to the Clark County Common Pleas Court website. 

Lawrence J. Mason, 45, of Medway was struck and killed by a silver 2015 Dodge Durango in September 2016, according to an Ohio State Highway Patrol crash report. The vehicle and driver left the scene, according to investigators.

The vehicle was later traced to the Baggs family, and Mason’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Baggs was arrested Monday afternoon, more than a year after the deadly accident.

"I'm hoping the family may have some justice for their loved one with Ms. Baggs going to jail for this indictment and charges," said Lt. Brian Aller, commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Springfield post. 

Kristine Baggs is a teacher in the Northeastern School District, Superintendent John Kronour said. 

Kronour said he couldn't comment until he knows more about the situation. 

She hasn't been suspended or put on leave at this time. 

"Not yet, but I anticipate that might be forthcoming," Kronour said.

Mother accused of using kids to steal from Macy’s, police say

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 3:58 PM

Authorities in Austin, Texas, are searching for Martha Monique Lopez, 27, in connection with a shoplifting incident on Nov. 12, 2017.
Austin Police Department
Authorities in Austin, Texas, are searching for Martha Monique Lopez, 27, in connection with a shoplifting incident on Nov. 12, 2017.(Austin Police Department)

Police in Austin, Texas, are looking for a woman who they say stole merchandise from a Macy’s department store with the help of another woman and four children no older than 10 years old.

>> Read more trending news

Investigators are looking for 27-year-old Martha Monique Lopez, who is charged with robbery by assault, according to an arrest affidavit filed this week.

On Nov. 12, police received a call around 2 p.m. from a store employee who watches for shoplifters at the Macy’s in the Domain shopping center. She told police she was watching the children, who were between 7 and 10 years old, through a security camera. According to the affidavit, they re-entered the store and met two women near the hotel bedding and pillow area.

The store worker told police that she saw the women point to some pillows, which the children then picked up before they “exited the store past the last point of purchase without attempting to pay for the items,” the affidavit said. The worker said in the affidavit that she confronted the children and identified herself as a Macy’s employee, after which point she said the children complied and started to come back with her to a store office.

The employee told police that as they were going back to the office, the two women approached her and one of them told her to let the children go and then pushed her, according to the affidavit. The other woman and the children began running away, the employee told police. She tried to grab the children, but the “female who told her to let her children go began to punch (her) on the left side of her face, chest and left arm with a closed fist causing (her) pain and redness,” the affidavit said.

The employee told police that she “tried to grab the female to detain her but the female took off running and (she) ripped (the woman’s) shirt off of her and the female ran out of the store wearing just a black bra,” the affidavit said.

A customer saw the woman running from the store and saw her and the children get into a white 2009 Chevy Malibu with a Texas license plate that matched a car registered to Lopez, according to the affidavit. Lopez was also identified by the store worker from a photo taken during a previous arrest, police said.