Hamilton County Sheriff

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

A state inspection has found Hamilton County's jail complies with all essential standards and most of the important standards. Sheriff Jim Neil says that's a big change from 2013 when the jail was called the worst in Ohio.

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Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies are still working without body cameras, even though a plan to purchase them was approved earlier this year.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil wants to buy 230 body cameras for deputies.  But first he has to come up with the money.  The Sheriff's Office received a Department of Justice grant, and can use restricted funds to buy the cameras, but the service agreement and storage costs are not yet covered.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Correction 10/27/2015:

The request from the Sheriff’s office is not a supplemental appropriation.  Hamilton County Budget Director John Bruggen says all of the vehicles are within the capital spending authority approved by the Commission.

Original story 10/26/2015:  

Hamilton County Commissioners are concerned about the number of supplemental funding requests coming from the Sheriff's Office.  Commissioner Todd Portune says it seems like every week there's a request for one or two new vehicles.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Nearly half of the inmates processed at the Hamilton County Justice Center last year had a heroin addiction and detoxed while behind bars. The Sheriff now wants to create a special ward just for addicts with poor over-all health.

Gary Lee campaign Facebook page

Gary Lee, a former Cincinnati Police Department captain, announced Monday he will run as a Republican for Hamilton County Sheriff in 2016.

But Lee may have competition for the GOP nomination. Retired assistant Cincinnati police chief Vince Demasi told WVXU Tuesday that he is "very seriously" considering leaving his present job as Mt. Healthy's police chief to run for sheriff. 

Demasi would have to give up the Mt. Healthy job in order to run; and he said that would be a key factor in his decision "because Mt. Healthy has been very good to me." 

Deputies find heroin in Bible

Jan 16, 2015
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Two people are accused of trying to smuggle heroin into the Hamilton County Justice Center in a Bible. 

Chief Deputy Mark Schoonover says the Bible was sent to the jail in mid December, and like all mail, it was searched.

A Sheriff’s K-9 indicated the presence of narcotics on the Bible; and deputies took a closer look.  On page 419 and 420, in the Book of Daniel, they noticed a light brown stain, about the size of a half dollar.

Schoonover says deputies cut a small piece of the page out and had it tested.  The results of the test were positive for heroin. 

Hamilton County Sheriff's Department / Provided

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office says Monday's search at the jail turned up marijuana, but no heroin.

The department used drug sniffing dogs to search each section of the justice center. One inmate was searched when a K-9 alerted in his pod. Two  small bags of marijuana were found in the inmate's waistband.

The sheriff's office conducts the sweeps randomly. Sheriff Jim Neil says in light of increasing problems with heroin use and overdoses, including several that occurred in the jail, he plans to step up the unannounced searches.

Provided / Hamilton County Sheriff's Department

Ohio legislators are considering a bill that would require toy guns only be sold in bright colors to help distinguish them from real ones. But it seems some criminals might try using that to their advantage.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office reports deputies responding to a call about a man with a weapon located the suspect with a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun.

A picture of the weapon shows it's been painted red to look like a toy gun.

The suspect was also carrying 9 grams of crack cocaine.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Department

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department will get two new motorcycles after all.

Commissioners questioned the purchase request last week. But Greg Hartmann says he's satisfied with the Sheriff's response.

"I'm convinced an efficient and legitimate law enforcement purpose was established," says Hartmann.

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One of Hamilton County's canine units has died. The Sheriff's department reports Canine "Kid" died a week ago from an illness.

Kid was a 6 year veteran who worked in explosive device detection. The department says Kid and his handler, Deputy Steve Fischesser, worked every home Bengals game and responded to nearly 500 requests for service, 134 of which were threat incidents.

The pair also did demonstrations at local schools. The Sheriff's office says those demonstrations were the dog's favorite thing to do.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Two former Silverton Police officers are now Hamilton County Sheriff's Deputies. They were sworn in Thursday along with a clerk, marking a change over in public safety in the Village.

An audit of the Hamilton County Sheriff's department is recommending three issues be addressed. They include: staffing, technology and training.

The report concludes department staff are highly disciplined and resilient but also static and resistant to change. It says the agency, under former Sheriff Simon Leis, became "frozen in time" which prevents it from adopting more modern procedures and practices.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition is suing the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department over a policy to remove the homeless from the courthouse steps. Commission executive director Josh Spring says Sheriff Jim Neil's department will start threatening arrest this week. Spring wants to wait until after the winter shelters open in a month and a half.

The Sheriff and Major Charmaine McGuffey were guests on Cincinnati Edition today where the sheriff's homeless strategy was one of the topics. McGuffey said the department  has been patient.

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