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  • portsmouth, ohio

    Portsmouth Police Chief Charles Horner stands accused of misconduct that includes abuse of power, obstruction of justice and hampering criminal investigations of friends and others.

    Mayor Jim Kalb yesterday scheduled an Aug. 27 pre-disciplinary hearing to allow the Horner to respond to the charges that could lead to his dismissal.

    Horner was placed on paid administrative leave May 23 after Kalb ordered an outside investigation of Horner's conduct during his tenure in the chief's office.

    An investigation by a retired FBI agent and retired deputy U.S. marshal concluded that "several instances of misconduct and abuse of power have occurred" on Horner's watch.

    "It's upsetting to have those kinds of accusations within your department," Kalb said today. He declined to discuss Horner's potential fate, saying the chief has not yet had a chance to respond to the charges.

    Reached at this home this morning, Horner said he could not comment because he is "under a gag order from the mayor" and not allowed to discuss the case.

    The investigators found that Horner improperly ordered a canine drug search of a vehicle owned by a man whom the chief had accused of threatening him. Horner ordered his officers to "fabricate" reasons for searching the truck, the report said.

    The owner of the vehicle, Portsmouth businessman Edward Lee Scott, has sued the city for damages, alleging Horner abused his power in ordering the search. Trace amounts of marijuana were found for which Scott was not charged.

    Without providing details, the report also claimed that Horner ordered detectives not to file a report in a criminal investigation involving a friend. The report also alleged that Horner interfered in at least three other investigations by ordering officers not to prepare reports or collect evidence.

    The report further accused Horner of insubordination in ignoring the mayor's orders and creating a hostile workplace for his force of 40 sworn officers.

    Officers spoke of an "atmosphere of intimidation and reprisal" under Horner that caused them to "do as little as possible in their police work to avoid any initiative" that would anger Horner and lead to unwarranted punishment, the report said.

    Some officers also complained they have not received basic self-defense training in 10 years, that the police policy manual largely is a decade old and that officers do not receive routine performance evaluations.

    The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation conducted a criminal investigation of Horner's conduct, but concluded there was no evidence to support charges.

    Portsmouth, a city of 20,133 residents, is on the Ohio River, about 85 miles south of Columbus.
    " if you talk in your sleep, don't mention my name....
    " if you walk in your sleep, forget where you came....

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