UPDATE: 1/29/2022 @ 7:45 p.m.
COAL GROVE, OHIO (WOWK) – The Village of Coal Grove is in the process of hiring a new police chief after the former chief and all patrol officers resigned in the same month.
We spoke with some residents who say having a police presence in the village brings with it comfort, especially at night. Food Fair evening manager and Coal Grove resident Julie Pommell says her job requires her to work into the night hours.
The process we go through with closing the store and leaving here at night, It’s pretty scary for the females knowing that we don’t have Coal Grove cops.Julie Pommell, Coal Grove resident
Pommell goes on to say a police presence is not completely absent. The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office has officers patrolling the area and temporarily responding to emergencies.
Other residents in the area have been taking to social media looking for an answer to the question “Why did this happen?” I spoke with coal grove councilmember Andy Holmes and he says many of the officers took advantage of better opportunities at other local police departments.
As for the former Police Chief Randy Lewis, Holmes says he believes that’s a different situation.
The police chief was going through some disciplinary issues that he’d rather resign than kind of face some of those issues, so there’s a lot of things involved as to why we got to this point.Andy Holmes, Coal Grove councilmember
Holmes also confirmed that a document floating around social media allegedly written by Lewis explaining why he decided to resign was indeed written by Lewis himself. Contained in the document are accusations that the mayor and other local government officials were involved in unethical behavior.
Holmes also says the Ohio Ethics Commission is looking over the document and will be investigating the incidents. As of right now, the village has several candidates for the police chief position who will be interviewing for the position on Monday.
UPDATE: 1/23/2022 @ 4:30 p.m.
COAL GROVE, OHIO (WOWK) – The village of Coal Grove is looking for a new police chief.
We told you earlier this month patrol officers resigned immediately at the village meeting and the chief planned to resign on Jan. 24.
However, Councilman Andy Holmes confirms to 13 News Sunday that chief Randy Lewis made the decision to resign upon notice on Tuesday Jan. 18.
The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department is handling emergencies in the village, and Holmes also confirms the Ironton Police Department is helping too until the force is back up and running.
Coal Grove Village Council will meet on Thursday to get an update from the mayor on his search for a new police chief.
Once that position is filled Holmes anticipates the mayor and chief will work to fil the ranks of the department.
ORIGINAL: The chief of the Coal Grove Police Department and the department’s three officers have resigned, according to Coal Grove Village Councilman Andy Holmes.
The chief resigned at the Coal Grove Village Council meeting on Thursday night.
The three officers’ resignations are effective immediately, and the chief’s last day will be January 24.
The patrolmen didn’t give reasons for their resignations.
Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless tells 13 News that his office will respond to calls from the village of Coal Grove, but those calls will have to be prioritized. He says emergency calls will be handled as quickly as possible, but minor calls may have a “big delay” in officer response time since the Sheriff’s Office will have to cover a vast amount of area.