Concerns Raised About Local Detective Conduct With Student Cheerleaders

Concerns Raised About Local Detective Conduct With Student Cheerleaders

COLUMBIANA COUNTY, Ohio (WKBN) – A group of citizens is pointing out complaints against Columbiana County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt.

First News received reports from a group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Columbiana County about complaints and disciplinary action taken against Detective Sgt. Steve Walker.

After First News filed a public records request, we found several complaints, warnings and disciplinary actions recorded in Walker’s personnel file, including letters written to the department by school superintendents.

A day after WKBN spoke with Columbiana County Sheriff Brian McLaughlin about the complaints, McLaughlin told WKBN that Walker had been placed on paid leave.

The Concerned Citizens group questioned Walker’s suitability for the position because of their past complaints.

On December 20, 2019, United Local Schools Superintendent Lance Hostetler wrote a letter to the Sheriff’s Department requesting that the department open an investigation into Walker following complaints of inappropriate behavior by student cheerleaders.

The letter said Walker showed up to cheerleading practice uninvited. Despite being confronted and agreeing to stay away from the girls, he continued to “place himself around the cheerleaders” and gave one of the cheerleaders a “mixed CD,” according to the letter.

Just three days prior, on December 17, 2019, Southern Local Schools Superintendent Tom Cunningham sent a different letter to the department requesting that Walker no longer be assigned to cover extracurricular events in the district.

That letter said that during school events where Walker was working security, he would not be in the desired areas and would wander around. It also stated that he would arrive late to events.

On January 7, 2020, former Columbiana County Sheriff Raymond Stone permanently banned Walker from working in any school. Stone’s letter of reprimand noted that the sheriff had been turned over to copies of the text messages and Walker’s letter to a “much younger woman.”

The letter included a quote from a letter allegedly written by Walker, in which he allegedly told the young girl: “I hope this letter does not make you uncomfortable.”

Stone claimed that the letter actually made him very uncomfortable and that “as a deputy sheriff of the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office, you are held to a high moral standard.”

Current Sheriff Brian McLaughin said Wednesday that the complaints and disciplinary actions predated his tenure as sheriff. He went on to say that anyone with direct knowledge of Walker’s crimes should be contacted.

McLaughlin also stated that they are currently looking back at the allegations that happened at the schools.

The letter from Concerned Citizens of Columbiana County states, “If his own superintendent and superintendents of schools don’t feel safe around the children in his schools, why should the rest of Columbiana County feel safe with him around our children?”

Other warnings and disciplinary actions

Other warnings and disciplinary actions

In addition to complaints of inappropriate behavior, Walker’s personnel file showed warnings and suspensions dating back to 1995, a year after he was hired by the department. This may interest you : Community summary: 3 Silver wins gold in the junior world | HeraldNet.com.

Below is a list of what we discovered in his file:

On September 25, 2017, Walker was given a verbal warning for logging into work twice before arriving at the station.

According to the warning protocol, he logged in on September 20 at 7:42 a.m. while still at home and did not arrive at the station until 8:22 a.m. On September 25, he logged in at 7:41 a.m. and couldn’t get in. station until 8:22 a.m.

The most recent disciplinary action was taken on June 1, 2021, when Walker failed to properly log evidence.

According to an entry in his file, Walker had 13 items of evidence in the box: drugs, paraphernalia, and the like. Some of the items were not in evidence bags and the origin of the items was unknown, the document says. It also states that drug evidence was provided to Walker by the Sheriff’s Office and taken to the Columbiana County Narcotics Task Force (CCDTF), but as of May 10, 2021, it was not part of evidence and was being held at a storage facility. open area in CCDTF. There was also additional evidence that was not properly recorded.

Walker was handed a three-day suspension after reaching an agreement with a union representative.

McLaughlin says this is the only case involving Walker since he took over as sheriff.

We left a message for Walker at the department, but as of Wednesday we have not heard back.

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