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Does mayor have police chief's back? Duncan says turf war 'has to end'

Scott Seitz2 • May 4, 2014 at 10:01 PM

City and county officials are mostly steering clear of the recent dust-up between the Norwalk Police Department and Huron County Sheriff's Office.

In the past month, the situation has become tense between the two law-enforcement agencies.

Norwalk police want sheriff's deputies to stick to the county, while Sheriff Dane Howard said his troops have every right to investigate cases anywhere in the county, including within city or village limits.

That issue is just one of a few which have apparently cause a "turf war" between the two departments.

Police Chief Dave Light is supervised by safety-service director Bob Patusky, who answers to Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan.

Howard answers to the voters of Huron County.

Duncan talked about the situation.

"To be quite frank, I've mainly been working on economic development stuff," the mayor said.

Duncan said, though, he did tell Light it's time to move forward.

"I have," the mayor said. "But, it's got to be on both sides.

"This has to end and we have to get back to serving our citizens," Duncan said. "It has to be about the citizens, not about individual preferences.

"The community is to be served and they deserve to be well-served," the mayor said.

"We're never going to agree on everything," Duncan said, adding that doesn't mean "we have to be disagreeable."

Huron County Commissioner Tom Dunlap, who also served as sheriff in the 1980s, offered a few remarks Wednesday.

"My philosophy has always been, and it hasn't changed over the years, cooperation and open communication," Dunlap said.

The commissioner said he's not advising Howard.

"I keep my nose out of his business," he said. "It's his office, it's not my office anymore."

Patusky provided a brief statement.

"We're just monitoring the situation; that's all," he said.

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