Sam Crish had Allen County in his back pocket when he was first elected sheriff in 2008.
Grabbing nearly 7 of every 10 votes – or 68 percent of the count to be exact – Crish was handed his dream job in a lopsided fashion when he defeated Steve Hoverman, who in his own right, was also a viable candidate.
Voters simply took a shine to Crish.
He knew the department inside and out, working his way up from a patrol officer to major of the detective bureau during his 23 years there. He also was only one of five people in the history of the Allen County department to graduate from the FBI National Academy.
County residents liked the things Crish said, and how he proudly carried himself when he wore the uniform.
Crish promised a new spirit of cooperation between the leadership of the sheriff’s office and the Lima Police Department, whose relations had been strained for years. He held true to that promise, further earning the respect of the community.
Sam Crish was the good sheriff we all wanted. A man of duty and honor. A man of his word.
What we didn’t know, however, were the demons that toyed with his mind.
On Sept. 7, 2016, FBI agents swarmed his office with search warrants and carried out his computer and other items. In the months that followed, we learned of Crish’s gambling addiction and the deep debt he owed.
He resigned from the job on Jan. 31, 2017. It wasn’t until Monday, when a 21-month FBI investigation ended with indictments, that we learned of the crimes facing Allen County’s top cop.
The indictment claimed Crish turned to extortion, bribery and lying to pay off at least $100,000 worth of gambling debts that went back at least to 2013.
Crish says he’s innocent of all charges. He’s being represented by highly regarded attorney Michael Rumer, a former Common Pleas Court judge for 16 years, and attorney Zachary Maisch, who most recently was able to get the minimum sentence for a 20-year-old Lima man in a shooting death outside a Shawnee apartment.
What’s surprising is Crish currently is out of jail after only being required to post a $50,000 signature bond Monday in Toledo’s U.S. District Court. This type of bond doesn’t demand any money be paid up front. Payment is only required if the accused fails to show up in court.
Given the crimes Crish is accused of committing, we would have expected something with more meat.
This is a former sheriff accused of betraying everything he worked for — the community, his fellow officers and himself
We firmly believe in the judicial process and no one is guilty before proven so, but his indictment Monday was one of the most disgraceful days for law enforcement in Allen County history.