Following the arrest and firing of a Washington County Deputy, candidate for Sheriff Chris Forshey says the hiring process should be much more strict, using every tool and resource possible. He says ignoring these tools and their results, which he believes has happened, is simply unacceptable.
"And in this case there has been a tremendous failure in that arena that were established under this Sheriff," explains Forshey. "When I was with the department before we had a very extensive background investigation, psychological, polygraph. Even doing that sometimes you might miss something but if you go through all those steps, you're relatively sure you're going to get the best applicant that you can."
Sheriff Larry Mincks describes the investigation and firing as isolated and unfortunate but says he is proud of the office handling it quickly and efficiently. He says they have a very sound, extensive background check each deputy must goes through.
"I am extremely proud of the men and women of the Washington County Sheriff's Office who work on a day to day basis and are doing work and their work is reflected in the cases that they are bringing to trial and the convictions that they are getting and the protection that they are providing to the public.," says Sheriff Mincks.
Law enforcement officers are typically held to a higher standard by the public but that's something Forshey believes the department overlooked.
"I believe this Sheriff has a history of ignoring standards of hiring that are used throughout law enforcement in the State of Ohio and across the United States that help eliminate the possibility of this type of person being hired," says Forshey. "The department currently has a number of deputies on it's roster that by normal standards probably would not get hired by any other department in the state of Ohio."
Sheriff Mincks disagreed and shot back criticizing Forshey's controversial past as police chief in Pataskala Ohio saying it's Forshey who wouldn't qualify with the department.
"Mr. Forshey has applied to me for employment on three different occasions and I have turned him down basically because of his background and the information we have obtained in it," explains Sheriff Mincks.
Investigators say now, former Deputy Sheriff Dustin Maze, and two others have admitted to a breaking and entering four to five years ago.
Dustin maze started at the Washington County Sheriff's office in March 2012 as Corrections Officer before recently being promoted to Deputy Sheriff. Before the arrest Maze was in field training.
Maze is also the currently Dunham Fire Chief.
He also formerly served as a part time officer for Beverly, Coolville and Pomeroy.
Investigators are still trying to figure out the time frame but say it happened sometime between January 2007 and December 2008. They say Maze, his brother, Brent Maze, and also Anthony Cronin broke into a Fleming home taking motorcycle gear, wheels, and possibly even guns. The breaking and entering was never reported to authorities. The owner of the home did not regularly live there and that's the reason the exact date is still under investigation. During questioning the owner says stuff did come up missing during that time frame.
Sheriff Larry Mincks says it all started when Maze's ex-wife threatened to tell the Sheriff's Office about the breaking and entering and embezzlement. Maze then told his training officer about the threat denying the allegations.
"They were in the process of a divorce, they were discussing child support and he was wanting shared parenting and I think she was wanting just her to have custody which would've caused a difference in the amount of money she was receiving," explains Sheriff Mincks. "So she indicated to him that if he did not agree to the custody she was going to come in and tell the Sheriff's Office that she was aware that he had been involved in an B and E and an embezzlement that was going on."
The sheriff's office turned the investigation over to Marietta Police detective Troy Hawkins.
Through further investigation, investigators say all three admitted to the crime of breaking and entering.
Sheriff Mincks says Maze did admit to using a Dunham Fire Department credit card to purchase gas on multiple occasions but the embezzlement is still under investigation
Sheriff Mincks does say an extensive background check was done on maze and the ex-wife highly recommended him for the job during an interview.
"She was interviewed during the background investigation, she did not indicate anything like this at all, in fact she recommended him, I'll say highly for his professional ability," says Sheriff Mincks. "We follow a pretty strict hiring process that we go through as far as interviewing people and there is no indication out there that anything like this had ever happened."
Maze has been fired and all three men have now posted bond at this time.
Sheriff Mincks' opponent in the November election, Chris Forshey, says this one of the many reasons he's running for Sheriff.
He says as sheriff he would use every resource available to make sure to catch these potential problems and have the best person is serving the county.
"Extensive background, psychological, polygraph, it's a long process and that's why if you're going to hire a law enforcement officer, you know in most departments that's a sixth month process or better to make that happen because you have to be very thorough or very detailed when you do this," explains Forshey.