The vast majority of police officers who are charged with protecting their communities do a commendable job. But when cops are caught engaging in illicit and criminal activities, it damages the trust we put in them, which in turn makes the job more difficult for upstanding law enforcement personnel to carry out.
That trust is hurt even more when the individual involved is the person who’s meant to be in charge. Samuel Crish, 54, of Delphos, Ohio, was the sheriff of Allen County until January 2017 when he resigned. He left his post then because, in September 2016, the FBI raided his offices.
It was discovered that Crish was involved in collecting bribes and extorting several individuals in the county. Between 2012 and 2016, at least five individuals paid thousands of dollars to Crish in exchange for him looking the other way or otherwise helping them out personally within his department.
In one example, Crish — in speaking with a person applying to be a nurse at the Allen County jail — told that person he needed help paying for medical coverage. When that person gave him an $8,000 loan, he then explained he needed help paying off other debts and asked for (and further received) $42,000 from that person. The payments apparently helped secure that individual the job they were seeking.
Crish also accepted payments from individuals he caught soliciting prostitutes or dealing drugs. In all, the former sheriff collected close to $100,000 from drug dealers, “johns,” illegal gamblers, and others during that time.
In addition to his crimes, Crish made the situation even worse by lying to FBI investigators, which is a crime in itself.
“The conduct described in these charges is as offensive as it is audacious,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said. “Demanding bribes from drug dealers, gamblers, and johns arrested in prostitution stings reads like something out of a bad movie.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t a movie, and it seems that a sheriff conducted himself in an inappropriate way. His community entrusted him with upholding the law, but instead he engaged in criminal behavior himself. When that happens, it can be difficult for a community to put its trust in law enforcement again.
It’s important that we put the highest standards on those we expect to enforce the law — and when those examples of criminality within law enforcement do make themselves known, we must take preventative measures to ensure others within sheriffs' departments or police stations across this nation do not conduct themselves in a similar manner in the future.
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