Report: Sheriff Howard's troops followed 'policy and procedure'

Outside investigator clears Huron County deputies of wrongdoing in recent raid; resident John Collins taken to task in report.
Scott Seitz2
May 5, 2014

An independent investigator has determined Huron County Sheriff's Office deputies acted according to policy and procedure during a March 25 raid at 114 1/2 Benedict Ave.

Detective Sgt. Jim Henry, from the Holmes County Sheriff's Office, conducted the investigation. Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard requested the special investigation and it was assigned by the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association.

(NOTE: To read the full report, click on the link at the end of this story.)

Some of the concerns presented in the case were whether deputies executed the warrant at the correct address and possible damage that took place at the residence of John Collins during the raid.

Henry investigated all these and more matters.

"After reviewing the investigative material compiled in advance of the search warrant, the warrant and search warrant affidavit and interviewing the officers involved in executing the search warrant, I have concluded all officers were acting in accordance to policy and procedure," Henry wrote in his report.

"Detectives (Kayla) Zander and (Rich) Larson were originally acting on an anonymous tip," Henry said. "They were able to locate the persons in question and make drug arrests. Based on the intelligence gathered from these arrests, and surveillance of the property where they viewed the suspect participating in drug trafficking from 114 1/2 Benedict Ave., and with confirmation from a photo lineup identifying the suspect (Robert Hendricks), detectives applied for a search warrant which was reviewed and issued by a common pleas court judge. The detectives supplied reliable information and probable cause and were acting in good faith."

Henry continued to explain his conclusion.

"Often times drug search warrants are executed on properties where the suspect is not found to be residing," Henry said. "It is not uncommon to find the suspect is dealing drugs from a residence other than his own.

"Often times, the suspect does not want to lose welfare assistance they are receiving for their real residence," Henry said. "I find in this case, Hendricks may be homeless, with no permanent address. He appears to have been stealing medication from his mother and father and selling the medication. At the time of execution of the search warrant, officers did not know Hendricks mother lived beside 114 1/2 Benedict Ave.

"The detectives and officers did, in fact, execute the search warrant on the correct address," Henry said. "The observations made by detectives would indicate to a reasonable person that the subjects that were observed at the residence were not in the process of breaking into the residence. They were observed moving in and out of the residence in a calm and normal manner for three hours. Hendricks was seen dealing drugs and cleaning the yard. The other two females had gone grocery shopping down the street and returned with a bag of food. One individual was identified as Collins' girlfriend, Skyler Vanmeter."

Henry offered Collins a bit of advice in his report.

"In the future, John Collins needs to be more aware of what is occurring at his apartment," Henry said. "The fact remains that John Collins claims he was out at a bar drinking with a friend until 8:30 p.m. This would indicate that he could return home any time after he had gotten off of work at 4:30 p.m.

"John Collins believes at this time a burglary was being committed at his residence," Henry said. "He claims 18 of the 60 Suboxin doses were stolen from his apartment. John Collins has not made a burglary report. He has also not submitted a written complaint of damages to the Huron County Sheriff's Office as requested. John Collins has not contacted myself to help with this investigation."

Henry addressed the issue of damage at Collins' apartment.

"In regards to the damage Collins is claiming to his tablet screen and wall hanging item, I feel these complaints are unfounded," Henry said. "Based on officer statements, at no time did the tablet fall on the ground or get stepped on by the officers. The officers did not observe any item fall from the wall. There was no forced entry into the apartment. The front door was unlocked and the officers simply entered. I, personally, observed it to be undamaged when I went to the residence to make contact with John Collins regarding this investigation. John Collins made no complaint at the time of the search warrant of any damage to his property. I find that the Huron County Sheriff's Office is not responsible for reimbursing Collins for any damages."

Henry continued to address Collins' claims.

"Through my investigation I learned that upon entry into the apartment Collins was placed on the floor between the couch and the coffee table," Henry said. "He was handcuffed on the floor for less than five minutes. Collins was then set up on the couch and, within another five minutes, his handcuffs were removed.

"Collins has claimed he had been laying face down on the floor for five to 10 minutes," Henry said. "I find the time that Mr. Collins was restrained was not unreasonable. Collins was only restrained during the time it took officers to secure the residence for their safety."

Henry commented on the arrests at the nearby apartment.

"John Collins provided subsequent information to the detectives, which led them to serve already outstanding secret indictments at the Papp apartment, 114 Benedict Ave.," Henry said.

"When they went to serve the search warrant, the detectives did not know who lived at that address," Henry added. "Only when Collins provided the name of his neighbors, Detective Sgt. (Josh) Querin remembered there were secret indictments on some of the Papp family. I find that the detectives acted properly and responsibly in locating in the area additional suspects who were wanted on outstanding warrants."

Finally, Henry explained the process of releasing information to the media in this case.

"Regarding complaints about the release of information to the media, it is typical, to ensure officer safety and to not compromise and investigation, to seal, for at least some time, affidavits for and search warrants," Henry said.

"Lifting the order is incumbent on action of the court," he added. "Law enforcement has no authority to act outside a court order. Public records access does not extend to confidential law enforcement investigatory records, which are defined as pertaining to a law enforcement matter and have a high probability of disclosing, among other things, the identity of an uncharged suspect, the identity of an information source or witness to whom confidentiality has been reasonably promised, specific confidential investigatory techniques or procedures or specific investigatory work product or information that would endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel, a crime victim, a witness, or a confidential information source," Henry said.

"I believe, given these exceptions, the sheriff's office was within their right, when the request was made, to not release the requested report," Henry concluded.

Comments

-rebel

Someone at the Reflector needs to realize that this story is getting a bit old. It's time to stop recycling it and move on.

Shannon2

"Move on?" Because Dane is cleared, and this is the first time that any news agency has reported it, you think the Reflector should not publish that information? "A bit old?" Wow. By the way, why didn't the Register report that Dane has been cleared? Because it didn't fit with what they like to report? Sad.

-rebel

What good is it doing to keep on bringing up the same garbage, other than to stir the pot and sell newspapers? It's making our local law enforcement look pathetic at a time when heroin is lurking around every corner. We're paying these guys to fight crime, not each other. The Reflector can publish anything they want, but I don't think they're doing the community any favors by dragging this thing out. The more time these guys spend fighting with each other, means the less time they're fighting crime. Take your pick.

betrump

So someone's Constitutional Rights were violated. Big deal, right? Yeah, we should all just let that go. I mean, unless it's the second amendment. That's the only one that matters. 'Murica.

JMOP

""In the future, John Collins needs to be more aware of what is occurring at his apartment," Henry said."
That's some BULL-Larky !! What does that even mean?? He can't and shouldn't be held accountable for his neighbors wrong doing!

Why did the Holmes County Sheriff's office do this investigation?

Mr. Collins, get yourself a good lawyer please.

itsnotme

If you read the article it says Howard requested the investigation and the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association assigned it to Holmes County.

JMOP

I did read the article, but why Holmes county? Just random?

In other words, only another sheriff can investigate another sheriff? They have no other authority than themselves?

itsnotme

Not sure, but it reads like it was randomly assigned.

I think it's rather strange that Mr. Collins would not participate in this investigation. I seems to me that if he was truly a victim in this case he would want to have input into this investigation, and not just scream to the papers.

shovelhead

I bet his lawyer told him to do absolutely nothing. That's why he has said & done nothing. They will buy him all of the stuff they broke after the lawsuit is over.

nikki6279

And Im sure the department is not going to been found of any wrongful doing... that would open them up to liable...

m...w...k

If a person takes suboxone, they're not "clean" just to clear that myth up.

itsnotme

Oh he's clean...his app says so...

245admend

And the Sheriff and his deputies are clear on the warrant, HIS Friend in HOLMES COUNTY Sheriff Office says SO... Let's wait and see who says the 4th admendment rights are ok to be stompped on!

Dusty

Ever after reading the report I'm not buying the Sheriff's Office story on the events that happened. I'm sure the door made a BANG when it opened, All the info was provided by the Sheriffs Office, and not one but both video camera's failed. I'm sure Collin's lawyer told him not to say anything, I see this case going to court.

m...w...k

How would he afford this lawyer I keep hearing about?

Dusty

I'm sure they're contacting him. I would not be surprised it the ACLU has been in contact with him.

m...w...k

Ok, I'm sure they're not, but ok

245admend

I'm not buying it either, a one sided interview and investigation by Holmes County. With only information provided by Zander and paperwork provided by HCSO. Why not interview the 2 New London officers, and the Monroeville officer that also were there when the warrant was served.
And both video cameras failed, what are the chances of that?

245admend

M.W.K, not everyone lawyer needs a down payment, some take cases on contingency. And someone in John's family maybe helping, you would be surprised who are members of his family... Yes, he has been contacted by someone...

m...w...k

Lol thanks for that

VerbalKint

Hilarious, cleared by the BSSA, what a joke.
This is only one, one of several amateur and/or purposeful mistakes that this office has made; the others just have not been broadcast yet.

shovelhead

We should all forget about this now. Another cop said it wasn't a problem. What really sells it is when the investigator offers some advice to Collins. That's pretty lopsided. Keep your advice to yourself, unless your Dear Abbey.

Whopper2013

Of course Howard and the Sheriff's Department were cleared.....because the Sheriff's protect their own unless someone rocks the boat-then they get thrown under the bus

observer1

"Some of the concerns presented in the case were weather deputies executed the warrant at the correct address and possible damage that took place at the residence of John Collins during the raid."

Why on earth are they using "weather" deputies?

Korrupttown88

I'm sure Dane is buddy's with some of the deputies and civil staff at the Holmes county sheriffs office. Of course he was cleared. That's like getting to pick the jury at your own trial.

KURTje

Dane is cleared but he won't be re-elected.

luvblues2

"Detective Sgt. Jim Henry, from the Holmes County Sheriff's Office..." He has what authority to conduct this investigation and be the FINAL word?

BS..Chubs is goin' down on this one.

Sitting In The ...

One sheriff cleared another sheriff of wrong doing....what're the odds? The fact they never notified Norwalk PD prior to this search warrant strangely absent.....

Truckstop

Where's the story about the sheriff hiding text messages from the paper? This is a criminal offense-- you'd think they would report on this?

togbert71

So if a dope head gets busted for something, is he investigated by other dope heads? Why not ask another agency besides a Sheriff agency to investigate? Thieves investigating thieves? Nose pickers investigated by other nose pickers?? What's next!!

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