LIMA — There have been plenty of complaints this past week concerning the Lima Police Department, but none that have gone through the actual group established to hear them.An enforcement blitz by the Lima Police Department, Allen County Sheriff's Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol ended with 508 traffic stops and a slew of complaints about bully tactics and possible racial profiling. What it did not generate was a single written complaint to either the Lima Police Department itself or the city's Citizen Review Committee.“We've had no official complaints filed here since the blitz last week. Usually, when there are issues where people say they have been mistreated or profiled, we see some,” said Lima Police Department Maj. Tony Swygart, who is filling in as acting chief for Chief Kevin Martin while he is on vacation.The blitz, which took place between 3:30 p.m. and 3 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, targeted high-crime areas, according to the agencies involved, but some leaders in the black community complained that the real target was the black community. While those complaints were voiced to The Lima News and other media, they were not filed with the agencies involved.The process for filing a complaint with the Lima Police Department begins with a written statement to a supervisor on duty at the time of the complaint. That written statement is then forwarded to the supervisor of the division about which the complaint was filed. It then goes up rough the chain of command. Ultimately, the chief decides if the incident merits an internal investigation or eventual discipline. The department receives about 20 to 30 complaints a year, Swygart said.Complainants also have the option of contacting the Citizen Review Committee, a group established last year meant to offer the public a neutral body to present complaints against law enforcement. Chairman Michael Hayden said the committee has received no official complaints about the blitz. In fact, the committee has collected no complaints since forming.Hayden said he believes there are a variety of reasons the public has not taken advantage of the committee, including an ongoing distrust of the police and other agencies. The committee actually serves as an appeals process of sorts. To be considered, complaints must first be filed with the agency in question. Hayden said he plans to speak with Martin soon to discuss those issues and explore ways to improve the process.
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.