Hamilton County Sheriff's Department

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.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Department

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department is responding to Commissioner Greg Hartmann's request for more information about its motorcycle patrol.

Last week, the department asked to buy two new Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Hartmann questioned the purchase given the county's tight budget. "What are they going to be used for? Additional patrols? Are additional staff going to be used to need them? These are not replacement motorcycles."

provided

The Hamilton County Courthouse and Justice Center have something new-a total of 80 solar panels for heating water.

The panels are part of a $20 million dollar project the county says is at no additional cost to taxpayers. With the help of contractors, Hamilton County chose these buildings because they had flat roofs and available space.

The Justice Center:

Provided

The family of a man who died after being Tased by Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies is suing the county. The federal civil rights and wrongful death suit alleges deputies acted unreasonably.

Attorney Al Gerhardstein says Gary Roell, Sr. was experiencing a mental health emergency when he was Tased six times.

"This case has aspects of failure to train, failure to have proper policies for encountering mentally ill citizens, as well as improper Taser use," says Gerhardstein.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Thanks to a partnership with the Hamilton County Engineer, the Sheriff's office has a new tool for cracking down on overweight loads on county roads. A Ford F-350 has been converted and customized to carry specialized equipment for inspecting Commercial Vehicles.

Homeless children, teens and young adults are a rising concern for police and social workers in Hamilton County.

Lighthouse Youth Services CEO Bob Mecum says homeless kids used to mainly be unhappy runaways.

"Today we're seeing kids who are, for the most part, long-term victims of poverty, long-term victims of neglect, and physical and sexual abuse," says Mecum.

Addiction is another major problem. Mecum says heroin use today is unprecedented and often passed down to children by their parents.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Department

UPDATE 5/15/14 : Greenwood & Streicher are expected to release one or two more reports says Michael Robison, Director of Media and Public Relations with the Sheriff's Office. The consulting group is also analyzing the department's Enforcement and Support Services divisions. Robison says it is uncertain when that/those reports will be ready.

***

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil says training, staffing and information technology remain key areas of concern for his department.

Hamilton County is dedicating a full-time Sheriff's deputy to catching semis and others breaking commercial vehicle laws.

The Sheriff and county engineer have been working together on this issue but now Engineer Ted Hubbard says the departments are formalizing the arrangement.

"We have to be able to make sure that the vehicles that travel over the roadway system are the proper weight and the proper size," says Hubbard. "If they're not it can cause undue damage to the infrastructure system."

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.

Pages