Mon 05/19/08 2:00 PM: RESPONSE TO BRADY LIMING'S LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE BROWN COUNTY PRESS
My Response To Mr. Liming's Letter: Mr. Liming said, "After reading the lead story in last week's Brown County Press, I felt the need to respond. . . I will admit, I do not know all the facts of this case, but from what I do know, it seems like an attempt to bypass the voters. It is like stealing the ball in the middle of a baseball game to keep your opponent from getting a chance to bat."
Bypassing the voters is something that was done by Mr. Wenninger back in 2000. It is the voters who choose their representatives. It is those representatives who enact the election laws ALL candidates have to follow. The election laws are there to preclude any unqualified candidates from appearing on the ballots, to protect the voters from ending up with someone who is not qualified to hold office. The election laws are mandatory and require strict compliance.
Anyone not qualified, who resorts to circumventing the election laws by acting as if he were too stupid to realize that his credentials did not meet the requirements necessary to be a qualified candidate, and/or, by having an elected representative enact an unconstitutional amendment to the educational requirements to lower the threshold of educational credentials required to qualify, is someone not playing by the rules of the game, way before he takes the field to play ball. Buddy Coburn and K.O. Martin played by the rules when they ran against Mr. Wenninger back in 2000, but Mr. Wenninger did not. K.O. Martin played by the rules in 2004, and Mr. Wenninger did not with the help of then Representative Tom Niehaus.
Sooner or later "chickens come home to roost!" Usually if you break the rules of a game, you are thrown out of the competition for cheating, and you lose. This is actually what Mr. Liming is witnessing at this time. Mr. Liming, however, has allowed his feelings to supersede what his intellect would otherwise dictate, if he were more familiar with the facts. Mr. Liming's reaction is nothing new. Most people initially respond to situations they encounter based solely upon their feelings rather than common sense and intellectual honesty.
Mr. Liming said, "I am really disturbed at his [Varnau's] attempt to disqualify his opponent by a legal technicality. . . This should bother everyone. An attempt to eliminate your opposition by legal maneuvering is not the admirable or courageous route to take. One should try to defeat their opponent in the arena of ideas. One should try to present your qualifications, character, and proposed policies and persuade them to vote for you on these merits, not the abilities of your lawyers to get rid of your competition by means of lawsuit." All games have rules. If Mr. Wenninger had played by the rules up front, he would not be in the position he finds himself now. These are not technicalities. We are talking about THE LAW - the rules of the game. The election laws are there to protect the voters from getting a "pig in a poke." Voters don't have the time to devote to researching everything about every candidate that will be placed on a ballot. The election process protocol for candidates is supposed to weed out those who are unqualified to hold specific positions that require special licenses, certificates, training, etc., to keep an unqualified person from taking office. The case law is very clear, that even if an unqualified person is elected, he/she has to rectify the disqualification immediately upon assuming the office, otherwise he forfeits the office.
In this instance we are talking about the office of sheriff. The sheriff is the top law enforcement officer in the county, having the power to arrest and deprive one of his liberty and freedom. What "should bother everyone" is having a "sheriff" that does not follow the laws he has been entrusted to uphold - including election laws.
As far as lawyers, I have not hired any yet, but probably will have to do so shortly to protect my 14th Amendment rights under the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions. If I go to court, and it upholds my right to file a protest, then Mr. Wenninger's candidacy qualifications will have to be investigated. Mr. Wenninger's candidacy is on the precipice of total collapse, even if I don't go to court to protect my constitutional rights and the rights of those future candidates who will someday run for office as an independent, non-partisan, or write-in. The Board of Elections independent investigation could cause the house of cards to fall. A plaintiff or defense attorney could use the substance of my protest as an issue in one of his/her state or federal court cases that also could cause the house of cards to fall. The county insurer may wise-up to what is going on and pull their attorneys and coverage out from under Mr. Wenninger, the civilian, for the cards to fall. The Secretary of State and local Board of Elections are aware they cannot knowingly allow an unqualified candidate to appear on the ballot in November, and the cards will fall. And, if Scotty Webb is adjudicated guilty of theft, instantly a prima facie case of receiving stolen property sticks out like a sore thumb against Mr. Wenninger.
Mr. Liming concludes by saying, "hopefully Mr. Varnau will see that an election conducted within the marketplace of ideas and not inside a courtroom is what is best for the voters of Brown County." Actually, what is best for the voters of Brown County is to have candidates on the ballot that are legitimately qualified for the positions they seek. It is also best for the voters to have candidates that respect the law themselves, particularly candidates for sheriff, rather than having a smokescreen thrown up to prevent the voters from really seeing the truth. Hopefully Mr. Liming will take time to become more familiar with the facts prior to being mislead by his feelings into believing just the opposite of what his intellect would readily dictate from said facts.
Mon 5/19/2008 9:32 PM:
Question: I wonder what Mr. Liming or anyone who thinks the qualifications for sheriff are "technicalities" would think if he discovered his physician did not have a medical license. Even if she had been "practicing medicine for years," maybe ESPECIALLY if she had been practicing for years, she would most likely go to prison and we'd all agree that is what should happen. After all, the person has been perpetrating a fraud against her patients, making life and death decisions for them, holding a respected place in our community, and wrongfully being paid, right?
Sounds a lot like what is going on here. In my opinion, the consequences of an unqualified sheriff are much more far reaching as they impact everyone. Diane
Answer: Thank you for the input, Diane. Very good point! There are rules and regulations for everything, for a reason. Credentials are very important for physicians. They have to be there, not only to protect the patients from someone who is not qualified, practicing medicine on patients who accept by faith that the physician has the requisite training to be a physician, and also, to protect the hospital, etc., from liability concerns associated with employing a physician who is not legally qualified to be acting as a physician. There are people in this world, and even our county, who think that the rules, guidelines, laws, etc., do not apply to them or their friends, just to everyone else playing on the same field of life.
|Wed 5/21/2008 11:42 PM:
Question/Comment: I used to live in Mt. Orab. Sheriff
Crawford was my neighbor before and after he was Sheriff. I was there
when he was the police chief first. We had our differences but I think
he was a good man. I really do not know Mr. Wenninger very well. I have
only saw him once in person at an auto parts store a couple years back.
When the people, the voters, elect a person to public office, they are looking for someone to devote his/her time to doing the job, and a good job at that. It is so depressing to vote for someone who you think is going to do what he/she said they will do when campaigning, and then after winning the election, they seem to proceed to do exactly just the opposite of what they said they were going to do prior to being elected. Not only is this disgusting and depressing, but it automatically breaks any trust that was developed with supporters prior to the election.
For me, the more people who back me, the more I feel the need and responsibility to follow through completely, so as not to let those who are backing me now end up in the future regretting they ever did back me at this time. Like you, and others, I am fed up with politicians. It seems that not a one ever keeps his/her promises. I promise to give Brown County four years of my life in service for all citizens, equally across the board, as fairly as humanly possible. No favorites, no nepotism, cronyism, etc. Friends, family, and acquaintances are on notice that they are held to a higher standard than the general public. They know they are on their own, if they break the laws. Don't come running to me as sheriff to get you out of a ticket, etc. That is the main reason why I am not taking any donations, or getting too far into anyone's generosity during my campaign, to prevent any idea in anyone's mind that some kind of a "pay-back" or "favor" is in the bank, waiting to be withdrawn at a future time. Even the sheriff and all officers have to live by, and under, the same laws as the rest of us.
This may sound idealistic, but I am serious. I'm not just saying this to sound good. The public trust can only exist where the officers are professional, honest, fair, and courteous, while protecting and serving their customers - the general public at large - daily. Brown countians should have a sense of pride in their sheriff's department and its officers.
I'll, we'll, get 'er done, one way or another! That will be my job.
THE NEWS DEMOCRAT - INTENTIONAL DECEPTION, FAUX PAS, OR HONEST
MISTAKE - YOU DECIDE
In The News Democrat, Thursday, May 22, 2008 edition, on page A4, first column, under "Letters," you will find Glenn Bohl's letter to the editor, titled: Above the Law? On line five you have the sentence: "The trial in 2003 concerning this let him off on the fraud charges but did not indicate he was ineligible to be sheriff."
Now compare that sentence above published in the newspaper to the original letter signed and faxed to The News Democrat by Glenn Bohl. Fourth line down: "The trial in 2003 concerning this let him off on the fraud charge but did indicate he was ineligible to be Sheriff." Glenn Bohl's Original Letter
This is THE MAIN ISSUE with respect to Mr. Wenninger's lack of qualifications. Why did The News Democrat add to Mr. Bohl's letter the word "NOT" where it changes what the court actually did say to just the opposite??? Why, the jury would never have been given the charge to determine if Mr. Wenninger had been eligible under his credentials. If his credentials were satisfactory, the falsification charge would never have been pressed, and there would never have been a trial.
|Fri 5/23/2008 9:46 AM:
dennis, i am so glad you are doing something about the sheriff there is
a man that lives down on 221 that's been trying for years. you are the
most honest and nicest man i am just a poor person and you always
treated me with respect...you are right you can`t even make a
appointment with the sheriff.....
|Fri 5/23/2008 11:45 AM:
Question/Comment: I feel a need to comment on the reference to Wendell Crawford. I have served as a Brown County juror three times. One of those times was while Crawford was sheriff. HE was there, when it was investigated, in the middle of the night in his uniform on the tape and even testified at the trial. The second case was investigated by the Ohio Highway Patrol and the arresting officer testified, The last time I served as a juror, DW was sheriff. And the investigation AND testimony was supplied by the PA's office. No deputy was present, no sheriff, and no report from the sheriff's department.
I have also, been present for other trials and the PA's office seems to be doing Sheriff Wenninger's job. What is the county paying him to do? (He's really not that cute to be a poster child for law enforcement.) Leah
Answer: Thanks for your continued interest, Leah. Personal experiences are invaluable when it comes to comparisons like that you made above. After having worked in the prosecutor's office from January 22, 2004 to September 2007, I too personally know what the prosecutor's office involvement has been in cases over that time period. Someday the truth about which you discuss will be public knowledge, I'm confident.
|Fri 5/23/2008 3:19 PM:
Dear Mr. Varnau,
After receiving your questions regarding the public records you received, I consulted the Peace Officer Training Commission (OPOTC) staff who verified that OPOTC previously determined that Dwayne Wenninger did not incur a break in service and additional training was not assigned. The determination was based on the fact that Wenninger's actual appointment date with the Brown County Sheriff's Office was November 17, 2001. At that time, LE agencies were not required to report appointments, R.C. 109.761 was not effective until 2/20/02, so Wenninger's appointment paperwork (SF400) that OPOTC received on December 18, 2003 was most likely submitted in connection with an OPOTC appointment verification request made after the initial agency roster was received. The appointment date is the date reported on the notarized Oath of Office, not the date OPOTC receives the SF400.
Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 109, the Ohio Attorney General serves to dispense legal advice to State officers, boards, institutions and officials and is only authorized to issue formal AG opinions when requested by an authorized governmental entity. Consequently, the Attorney General's Office (AGO) cannot provide specific legal advice or issue formal or informal legal opinions to private individuals and the AGO is prohibited from answering your proposed hypothetical question.
Likewise, the phrasing of your question "who is responsible to take corrective action if a sheriff is found to be working as a PO but does not hold the valid certification to be sitting as sheriff?" seeks specific legal advice that the AGO does not have authority to disseminate. In general, I can refer you to Ohio Attorney General Opinion 93-013 (attached) and recommend that your attention be turned to legal authorities pertaining to County level officials and governing bodies.
If you still have concerns regarding your PO certification status, I recommend that you contact OPOTC directly for additional assistance. Thank you for your patience while awaiting our response.
Maura O'Neill Jaite
From: Dennis J. Varnau
Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 2:52 PM
To: Maura O’Neill Jaite
Subject: From: Dennis Varnau, Esq. - RE: Public Records Request regarding Dwayne Wenninger
Dear Ms. O'Neill Jaite,
There are a couple of questions I have concerning the SF400adm copies sent to me on Dwayne Wenninger.
1.) The SF400adm appointing Mr. Wenninger to the Brown County Sheriff's Office (BCSO), with appointment date: 01/01/2001, was filed on 12/18/2003, yet the instructions indicate the form has to be filed within 10 days of the appointment. And, the Appointment History page indicates that Mr. Wenninger was appointed to the Ripley PD from 12/19/1999 through 11/17/2001.
A.) Were there valid concurrent appointments in existence from 01/01/2001 and 11/17/2001, one in the Ripley PD and the other in the BCSO, or, was the Ripley PD appointment terminated by the BCSO appointment effective on 01/01/2001, but filed on 12/18/2003? While the BCSO appointment did not take place until it was filed, I assume, did Mr. Wenninger have a break in service from 11/17/2001 through 12/18/2003? [That appears to be two years of break in service with no remedial updating in training required.]
B.) Assuming the following hypothetical condition, for instance, if a person's appointment to a department turns out in the future to be legally invalid for one reason or another, and the SF400adm form is submitted to OPOTC with the information for that person being appointed to said department on a recorded date, would there technically/actually be a break in service, originating at the recorded date of appointment on the SF400adm, for that individual?
2.) I believe that the OPOTC does not have and investigative or enforcement arm within its charter, per one of my favorite BCI agents. While working at the Brown County prosecutor's office as an investigator, we had several [redacted] PD officers whose certificates had lapsed for one reason or another. Kristy Yankowski, my co-investigator, checked with OPOTC on their certificates, found them deficient, notified the Mayor of [redacted], and he put them on leave until they re-certified. I'm sure it is OPOTC's interest to make sure that the certificates it issues are maintained as valid as much as possible. For sure it is in the public's interest to have valid peace officers on the streets. So, who is responsible to take corrective action if a sheriff is found to be working as a peace officer but does not hold the valid certification to be sitting as sheriff? Everyone keeps asking me who is supposed to do something about this, and I too am not sure. I am thinking it is the Governor who is the only one who can act, like the Mayor of [redacted], over a county sheriff. I can find no case law on this type of situation in Ohio. It is unique as far as I know. If in fact my analysis is correct, then something has to be done, but no one knows how, or who is, to do it.
[remainder of letter redacted]
|Fri 5/23/2008 4:52 PM:
Question/Comment: We have started to ramp up our
campaigning efforts in the northern reaches of our county. Speaking to a
very limited number of voters has been an interesting process. Typical
responses so far have leaned towards the idea of 'something has to be
done about Wenninger.' Specifics have not been sought. However, the
openings to speak positively about YOUR candidacy are easily found.
I know there are plenty of individuals who vote straight tickets when it comes to elections. To me this does not make any sense at all. I understand why that allegiance exists, but look at what that type of loyalty generates. It generates a large body of votes that makes it easier for national political candidates to get elected, and I'd venture to say that not one out of thousands of party line voters know little, if anything, about these candidates personally. Whereas, on the local level, it is possible and easier to research local candidates on a one-to-one basis, to sort them out, whether they be Democrat, Republican, or Independent. So, to me, it does not make any sense to vote party line at all on local level elections. I will always vote for who I think is the best person for the job out of the field of candidates running, no matter what their political affiliation. I realize that some people will never change their allegiances for anything. I think the condition of our country at this time, economically, etc., is proof positive that real change for the better is being stifled by party politics and those dishonest politicians who take advantage of, and float on top of, the total body of votes that is generated by rank-and-file party line voters.
I am available to talk to anyone wanting to talk, wherever I am, anytime in the county. I do not have any public forums lined up. I'm not a career politician. I don't consider myself a politician. I am only involved in this political juggernaut because that is the process I have to participate in to get in to do the job. I would much rather prefer to submit my resume, go through some interviews and tests, and then get picked or discarded through a process of elimination the same as for any other commercial job. The status quo political system has gotten us into the mess we find ourselves in right now, in my opinion. If the people can't identify, or put their finger on this, I can't do it for them. I'm only running for sheriff this time because of what I experienced while working in the prosecutor's office. I know I can do a better job! I am willing to devote four years of my life in service to the people of our county, if voted in this Fall. It's the voters that will have to decide who they want to do the job for them over the next four years, and we will all have to live with that choice. I do appreciate your support, and if elected will do my best to live up to your expectations, and those of everyone else supporting me in this election.
|Wed 05/28/08 6:30 PM:
MY RESPONSE TO SENATOR NIEHAUS' COMMENTARY IN THE BROWN COUNTY PRESS,
MAY 25, 2008
Hopefully it won’t be quite some time before the Ohio House and Senate passes another emergency bill to expand the Inspector General’s authority to investigate Senator Niehaus’ legislative irresponsibility. Senator Niehaus engineered an unconstitutional amendment solely for one person’s benefit.
Senator Tom Niehaus’ Commentary in the Sunday, May 25, 2008, edition of The Brown County Press is a perfect example of that old adage, “the pot calling the kettle black.” Verbally gloating over the Mark Dann lack of integrity fiasco, is the height of political chutzpa when Niehaus has his own “skeleton in the closet.” Once the truth be spread far and wide, it won’t be long before the book is closed too on Senator Niehaus’ political career.
By now, everyone in Brown County should be aware of Senator Niehaus’ involvement in attaching an amendment to the 2003 Korean War Veterans high school diploma bill. The amendment reduced the educational requirements for sheriff candidates enough to encompass the inferior educational credentials Mr. Wenninger has possessed since the 2000 election.
Senator Niehaus has been steadfast in denying that his amendment was a “carve-out” specifically designed to benefit Mr. Wenninger’s candidacy. Niehaus says his amendment was not retroactive legislation, and that it was intended for anyone who might need it in the future to qualify as a sheriff candidate. Niehaus also contends that his amendment did not reduce the requirements, but just added training similar to that acquired in the colleges and universities approved by the Ohio Board of Regents. These statements, however, fly in the face of the facts.
Niehaus was in the right place at the right time when the Brown County Republican Party hierarchy approached him to see what he could do to change the law on educational requirements for sheriff candidates. Since K.O. Martin did not need a change in the law to make his credentials satisfactory, just who did the Republican Party hierarchy think needed help along these lines? The only candidate running for sheriff on the Republican ticket, in 2004, was Mr. Wenninger.
Niehaus’ amendment to reduce the educational requirements for sheriff candidates became law when signed by Governor Taft on December 9, 2003. It was attached to an emergency bill. Mr. Wenninger filed his petitions with the Board of Elections 13 days later on December 22, 2003. By the time this law was published and “hit the street,” it was too late for anyone else, running for election in 2004, to benefit from its enactment. No one, other than Mr. Wenninger, needed this law passed to make him/her eligible as a candidate for sheriff in any of the 30 other counties having contested elections for sheriff in 2004.
This amendment made, Niehaus said, “a certificate of registration from the state board of career colleges and schools equivalent to completing two years of post-secondary education at a college or university.” The “Shake Em UP Bartending School” has a two-week diploma course that you can take under their certificate of registration with the State Board of Career Colleges and Schools. The “Cornerstone Dog Grooming Academy,” “Diamond Cut Dog Grooming School,” “Dog-N-Suds Pet Grooming School,” “ABC Bartending School,” and/or the “English Nanny & Governess School,” all have certificates of registration and diploma programs that now satisfy the educational requirements to be an eligible candidate for sheriff.
The final chapter still has to be written about the surreptitious legislative conduct of Senator Niehaus. His action only helped to perpetuate an ongoing election irregularity against the registered voters of Brown County.
|Wed 5/28/2008 2:39 PM:
Comment: If the county even considers spending a dime on your allegations against Sheriff Wenninger you should immediatley [sic] be removed from the voter lists. To pursue an issue that has already been settled is an egregious use of county funds and time. Unfortunately, that's what I would expect from someone who has worked for the Brown County prosecutor. Colleen
Answer: Thanks for your views, Colleen. The issue involved, which has never been addressed before, should not cost Brown County much at all. On the contrary, the county should be able to recoup all the money lost as a result of Mr. Wenninger's lack of qualifications, including the $600+K in settlements paid by the county insurer for lawsuits against the sheriff's department and Mr. Wenninger, from Mr. Wenninger and those who deliberately worked to keep the voters misinformed, voters like yourself that don't understand the issues.
I would not want you removed from the voter list, because I think everyone should be voting to register through action what they express in words like yours above. It's a fundamental right under our Constitutions, and you have that right just as much as everyone else. I totally disagree with your views, but that's my right too.
|Fri 5/30/2008 1:53 AM:
Question/Comment: I was in Sardinia Sunday for a family
graduation party. There was a group of us talking about things in the
county. I have heard many horror stories about the Sheriff office, but
this was very disturbing. A woman was shot a couple years ago just
outside a town here in Brown County. She had to wait without any help
because the ambulance could not get to her without law enforcement help.
The Sheriff was not available to go with the ambulance to her house for
over 45 min. The gunshot woman's cousin asked the police of the town she
lives by why they did not help. The police told him the Sheriff told
them they were not allowed to leave their town to do anything. She lived
through the incident. If she had died I think the family could have sued
the Sheriff's office. I asked a couple policemen I know in Amelia in
Clermont County if they ever go to help outside of their town. They said
they do all the time. I told them the story I had heard Sunday. They
said in a life or death case they would have went.
Answer: Thanks for the mail, Harold. Yes, it is the very first thing I would do - a blanket mutual aid agreement with all municipal police departments.
I am not familiar with the incident you mention. I am, however, familiar with the situation you talk about. Not only were the local police informed that they cannot go out with their life squads and fire departments when responding to a call outside their municipalities, but they were also threatened with arrest by the sheriff if they did so without his permission. There was one death of an individual that was having a heart attack a few years back, where two local police were within a mile of the person having the heart attack. These local police had the equipment and training to assist heart attack victims, but they were told not to respond as the sheriff's department would take care of it. By the time the deputy arrived on the scene, the person was dead. The locals could have been there within a minute or two of the call, but the deputy got there much later. Maybe the individual could have been saved had the locals been allowed to respond. Maybe not. But there is no logical reason why there should not be total cooperation between all law enforcement entities in the county.
I did have a personal discussion with the "sheriff" about this one day, after he invited me over to his office to meet with him, the same meeting where Mr. Wenninger banned me from the Sheriff's Department. As it turned out, he invited me over to chew me out for what he perceived as me interfering with his domain. I was working on two investigations, one for the prosecutor's office and one for the Sardinia Police Department, and my investigation overlapped with a call made to me and 911 by the person I had been interviewing all morning. She called to have me come back out to her house. As I was headed back, I stopped by the Communications Center and saw a published notice about this same subject matter, aimed at the Mount Orab Police Department, which subject matter covered a discussion I was involved in at the Mount Orab PD a few days earlier, as far as legal liabilities, emergency personnel safety issues, etc. While there I heard that a children's services case worker was headed out to the same house but was waiting to be accompanied there. I said I was going back to the house and could pick up the case worker on the way out, which I did after the person at the Communications Center told me to do so, and then told the case worker that I would be picking her up.
In any event, you can listen to the conversations I had with Mr. Wenninger that day on the phone and in his office. Chief Deputy John Dunn was also in the office at that time. The next day, September 8, 2006, this NOTICE was posted at the Sheriff's Office. Then on November 22, 2006, at about 2030 hours, Sgt Nichols and I arrested a suspect and transported him to the Brown County Jail. On the way to the jail the arrestee confessed to the crime, but I needed that in writing. So when we got to the jail, I used the interview room across from the Sheriff's secretary to have the arrestee write down his confession. The deputy on duty at the time allowed me to get the written confession, but told me I had to leave the Sheriff's Office immediately after. The deputy knew more law than his boss and did not want to obstruct justice or official business in any way. The very next day, November 23, 2006, however, this NOTICE appeared outside the interview room door.
|Fri 5/30/2008 11:27 AM:
Question/Comment: DENNIS JUST READ THIS COMMENT, AND IT GOES TO WHAT WE'VE TALKED ABOUT. ALL DEPARTMENTS HAVE TO COOPERATE. WE'RE ALL OUT HERE WORKING TOWARDS THE COMMON GOAL--HELPING PEOPLE. IN A LIFE AND DEATH SITUATION, I WILL RESPOND, AND DEAL WITH WENNINGER LATER. DAMN THE TORPEDOES, FULL STEAM AHEAD. I DON'T UNDERSTAND HIS WAY OF THINKING, BUT WE MUST HAVE CHANGE. I THINK PEOPLE ARE FINALLY BECOMING AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON, AND ARE SICK AND TIRED OF IT. I KNOW I AM. DON
Answer: I agree, Don. Thanks for your input. Those who don't agree, you have to wonder why they don't agree, don't you? Is there some kind of "quid pro quo" going on, prompting their disagreement?
|Fri 5/30/2008 12:33 PM:
Question/Comment: I just listened to your meeting with our
current sheriff. I think his attitude in the conversation is a
reflection of what he thinks he is. He has put himself above the law.
The sad thing is that our other public servants do not seem to care. Him
and some of his deputies have publicly got away with criminal behavior.
We have witnessed the stolen television set. There were three deputies
that I remember got away with poaching deer, DRUNK with pistols out the
windows of a moving vehicle. Anyone caught handling a gun under the
influence would most likely be banned from ever owning a gun again. Mr.
Wenninger gave one of the two special recognition last year.
Answer: Thanks again, Scott, for this one and the next. I remember hearing about the spotlighting incident. I found two out of three of the individual deputies listed on the Municipal Court website. Don't know the outcome of those cases at this time. I know of a Mayor who was caught drunk driving and in possession of a gun within the last two years. If I remember correctly, he pled out to a felony, and he wasn't even shooting it. That does seem like different "just-us" applied, on its face. Maybe we need to know more of the facts surrounding that spotlighting incident, and what transpired after that in the criminal justice system.
All peace officers are under the same laws, and have to live within those bounds, the same as the rest of the population. The public is the first to recognize the illegal activity of those who are "above the law," in particular, police officers. I agree, that if the people don't collectively care about this kind of stuff, nothing will ever change. There are some times I am thankful that I never had any children of my own, and thankful I am not bringing up a new family at this time. Thinking about this type of stuff makes it one of those "times."
|Fri 5/30/2008 2:52 PM:
Question/Comment: I must respond to Colleen's comment. Did
this woman read what is going on? Does she have an IQ above 60? If
Colleen is so sure Mr. Wenninger is right and Mr. Varnau is wrong she
should ask her hero Mr. Wenninger to unseal the court case, even if she
is not smart enough to read and understand it herself. Ms. Colleen, if
Mr. Wenninger has nothing to hide he will unseal it to prove Mr. Varnau
wrong. This is not "old news" as Mr. Wenninger's attorney stated a
couple weeks back. If Ms. Colleen and all the other Wenninger koolaid
[sic] drinkers believe him, even though he refuses to prove this issue
has been resolved, I have some cars that get 250 miles per gallon I
would like to sell them. Maybe I should get with Mr. Wenninger and start
selling our 250 miles per gallon cars and trucks.
Answer: You had better watch out, Scott! You're putting yourself in jeopardy of losing your right to vote.
|Fri 5/30/2008 5:40 PM:
Question/Comment: I just listened to your audio recording and I am totally appaled [sic] by the way Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger spoke to you, cursing. Letters like that are public record, arn't [sic] they? The sheriff should not be cursing someone like that in his office!!! I am involved in emergency services, and I would never talk to anyone like that. You were bringing up good points, and it sounds like he was stammering in his shoes. I was uncertain who I was voting for, but after listening to that tape, I know who I'm voting for now...VARNU [sic] FOR SHERIFF 08!!!!! Dwayne "he's the sheriff", it's his job to do what's best for Brown County. I know Dennis, you will do what's best for OUR county! Anonymous
Answer: Thanks Anonymous. That letter was posted in the Communications Center. It was a public document, confirmed by Jane Pack, the person in charge of the Communications Center. You are correct.
Yes, I was more concerned about what was going on with respect to the dangers involved generally to the public and emergency personnel, by not allowing even their own police personnel to protect them on potentially dangerous calls when no deputy was available to cover. It was not my problem to correct, but is a problem I was/am concerned with as a resident of this county. This kind of conduct, stance, and attitude, could affect anyone living within our county's borders. I was working on two investigations completely separate and independent from any Sheriff's Department operations, and never did interfere with the deputy when he arrived, in fact, I had to assist the deputy to cuff a person, since the deputy could not let go of his dog to do it himself.
So, when Mr. Wenninger chose to ambush me over things he was not involved in at all, I spoke my mind in return. Yes, his eyeballs were popping out, and he was beet-red in the face, yelling at me as I approached the front of his desk on my way out of his office. The point is this. The people of this county haven't the slightest clue of what has been going on during the past two terms of Mr. Wenninger tenure. Ask around yourself, in confidence, to those who are directly involved, and you will find out first-hand. I know because I was in a position where I could clearly see exactly what was going on, and is still going on. It's the only reason I'm running, because I think things are not being run correctly now, and it's the public at large that is in constant danger! You can have all the politics that goes with wanting to do the Sheriff job as a candidate, because I have absolutely no use for the politics involved in wanting to do the job at all!
|Fri 5/30/2008 6:14 PM:
Question: Could you post a picture of Mr. Wenninger for us. We have no way to recognize him. Additionally, please post pictures of the two drunks that were referred to earlier on your site. We want to know what they look like for our own protection. We may very well take flight to another jurisdiction prior to speaking to them if they ever stop us. Thanks, Chuck
Answer: Chuck, you can use Google, put in the following words - Brown County Sheriff Ohio - and the Sheriff's website will list at the top. There you can click on the tab "Meet Sheriff Wenninger" to see a picture of "Sheriff" Wenninger. Then re-do another search using Google and put in the words, in quotes - "Dwayne Wenninger" - and you will see the following listing, second from the top, indented:
What you are looking at immediately
above is a hyperlink to the Brown County Sheriff's Department website,
to a "Re-Elect Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger" political ad that was
placed thereon prior to the primary election, during his campaign
against Sgt. Don Newman. Also notice at the bottom of the front
page to the website: "Copyright © 2006-2008 by Sheriff Dwayne
Wenninger." Then go to:
and type in -
browncontyohiosheriff.us - where it says enter a search term, then
hit search to find the following information:
What you are looking at is a privately
owned and operated website, that is holding itself out as the
OFFICIAL county government website for the Sheriff's Department,
whereon the above political ad, endorsing "Sheriff" Wenninger, ran
during the last primary election held on March 4, 2008.
As far as the deputies involved in the spotlighting, it is best to get to know your officers first-hand. Go back to the Sheriff's Department website front page and put your mouse cursor over the "Staff Directory" tab, then move over the right column that appears and click on tabs, starting with the second one down. You will be able to see all the pictures of each deputy's picture that is posted on the website. List those names out and then go to http://www.browncountycourt.org/search.html accept the terms of usage, and search each name as you desire.
|Sat 5/31/2008 10:13 AM:
Question/Comment: As a
concerned citizen of the county, I've been over the entire site and now
feel stronger about my decision to stand behind YOU, Mr. Varnau. Many of
us in the county have been concerned with Mr Wenninger's qualification's
and attitude for a good while now and we have good reason to be. I
personally have dealt with Mr. Wenninger in the past, his KING OF THE
HILL attitude didn't impress me then and it doesn't impress me now. I do
respect the title he hold's, but I do not respect the man behind the
title. It is time for the residents of Brown County to stand up and make
some noise and it's time for the 'good ol boy' network to be done away
with so we can straighten out this mess. I listened to your conversation
with Mr. Wenninger in his office, seems to me he just needed to flex his
chest a little that day for some unknown reason. If the letter he sent
to the Mt Orab PD is public record, what right does he have to jump your
butt like that? HE DOESN'T. Also, his yelling and use of profanity just
goes to show the he didn't have one itty bitty intelligent thought
floating around in that swelled head of his. OH YEAH...for those of you
that might be interested and have a police scanner with the capability
of going beyond 512 MHz, program 868.4125 and listen to this frequency
for a while. Once in a while you will hear some conversations that will
make you wonder what OUR Deputies think of the people that they are
supposed to protect and serve.
Answer: Thank you for the letter, Concerned. Send me an e-mail where to deliver the T-shirt, and I will bring it to you. I appreciate the support. I agree it is a mess at this time, which is the only reason I am running, to get it straightened out. There are a lot of people that want this done, and the numbers are growing daily. Say, do you have any recordings of the radio traffic off that 868 frequency? We should post some of that too. What I see most is that a majority of people have no clue about what is going on in their county. Not the slightest! How do you educate them? Honestly, I do not like campaigning at all! Yes, I'll do it only because that is the way the system works, my supporters are counting on me doing it, and I can't let them down, but I'll be glad when the clock hits 0000 hrs on the 5th of November. Don't think I'll ever do this again, but would run for re-election off my record, and not with all this campaigning.
|Sun 6/1/2008 2:02 AM:
Comment/Question: The "tac frequency" I stumbled upon when I first got my 800 MHZ Scanner. I never dreamed people would say stuff over a radio like that. Where I work, we'd be written up and disciplined if we said stuff like they have said on there. Since it is a county frequency, isn't it recorded by the sheriff's office recorders? If it isn't, it should be for recordkeeping purposes. Can the 9-1-1 dispatch communicate with units on this frequency? I have never heard them dispatch on it. Does the village units have this 800 Capability as a "back up" if the primary radio is down/busy? Anyways, wasn't that the radio system that was in the Brown County Democrat that was going to enable all law enforcement to communicate with each other? Scanner Listener
Answer: Thanks again, Scanner Listener. That frequency is recorded. All you have to do is know the time and date to retrieve it from the Communications Center under the Ohio Open Records law. So, if you don't personally have a voice activated recorder setup to record any transmissions over that frequency, there is an existing archive. That frequency is not used to dispatch or communicate between agencies. Apparently it is just used between a select few individuals associated with the Sheriff's Department. I guess you could call it the "good old boys" proprietary frequency.
|Sun 6/1/2008 11:15 AM:
is the first I have heard anything about you. I see your big sign on 68
every day. I have been reading about your protest in the paper. I did
not pay much attention thinking that it was just old news. After having
read this morning I now realize this is maybe finally Brown County's
answer we have been waiting for.
Answer: Thank you for the letter, Brown Co. Citizen. There are many who still do not yet understand that my protest is not over "old news." It is somewhat complicated because the "old news" has something directly to do with the new issue. The present issue had its start when the effort was being placed on circumventing the election laws back in 2000. That set the stage for future problems. It's kind of like building a house on sinking sand. If the foundation is not solid as a rock, then sooner or later the house will fall down over time.
|Sun 6/1/2008 10:35 PM:
Question/Comment: Thank you for addressing my letter so fast. I choose not to give my email as my privacy is important in my situation. I only have a few people I feel I can talk to about this. I have been a Republican my whole life as have most of my close friends. I always contribute to them but I feel as if they have abandoned me.
I think the two party system is beginning to weaken. I was always Republican as I always felt they reflected my conservative values. I believe they are committing suicide before our eyes. By backing a self-serving and un-qualified candidate just because he was already there. We made a mistake when we chose him and are now too prideful to admit that. We could have back in March.
If anyone reading this is a Republican and feel as if you would betray the party by voting against Sheriff Wenninger, ask yourself are we the party for the rule of law or not? I will still support the party as I believe for the national interest they are the lesser of the two evils. Face it we did not even get to choose our presidential candidate. Just remember for basic good and decency vote for the man not the party. We are all familiar with and know this situation. We are the party who always condemned Bill Clinton for keeping all the secrets. Here we are in a local election and our candidate refuses to let the truth be known.
When you enter the voting booth and cast your vote remember only you and God know how you vote. Will you do what is right or stick to party politics? If you are voting so you can tell your party buddies who you voted for you should not have that right. It is called a secret ballot for a reason!
Answer: Thanks again Brown County Citizen. I try to answer all mail coming in as soon as possible, depending on whether or not my internet connection is working long enough to do so. I put all mail up, complimentary or derogatory, doesn't matter to me. The best way to see things clearly, is to put some light on it so it stands out enough to figure out what it is you are looking at, so you can make some sort of a decision.
I had enough of the two-party system
after leaving Vietnam back in the early 70's. I personally think
that the reason we find ourselves in the national condition we are now
experiencing is because of the two-party system. There is no
accountability for anything done wrong in government anymore. When
$125 BILLION goes missing in Iraq, who is going to lose their job over
that? That is OUR tax money, just vanished! Have you heard
anything else about this missing cash since it was first reported?
|Mon 6/2/2008 10:50 PM:
Question: Maybe you may
wish to post and publish on this site and contrast with a few of the
past county sheriffs in office, how many sworn personnel, read that as
uniformed, in a marked cruiser, are on road patrol duty out in the field
for each shift or tour of duty?
Comment: Thanks for the questions, Jay. You wouldn't happen to have some time to help get all the above information collected and entered for comparison, would you? I might have some trouble getting that information out of the Sheriff's Office, after being put on notice not to go into the Sheriff's Department building. It surely would be interesting to compare these statistics, but if the data is not already compiled, it would be a pretty big task to complete such a study. And, if I did it, how many people would accept the results, seeing how many think my protest is over "old news," including Mr. Wenninger's attorney?
|Tue 6/3/2008 2:48 AM:
Question/Comment: I can
not believe he would have the nerve to bar you from the SO. Isn't that a
public facility that all of the Brown County Residents pay taxes
towards. The SO and The PO's office need to be "hand and hand", and NO
fellow county employee should be barred from there......Ridiculous! I've
heard of people getting barred from a bar, club, etc, but never a
sheriff's office! How is there supposed to be cooperation between
agencies for one common goal.......protecting life and property....when
people are barred?!?!?!
Answer: Thanks, Anonymous.
|Tue 6/3/2008 12:01 PM:
Question/Comment: Dennis, I am glad that you mentioned being barred from the SO. I think people should know that I, the other prosecutor's investigator, have been barred from the SO as well. Reasons given for it were that I was disrespectful to officers and recorded them without their consent.
First, I spoke to the officer who I was supposedly disrespectful to and he didn't seem to think I was, and he knew we were joking with each other. The second issue was cleared up about me recording people also because the recording in question wasn't mine. However, I am still banned from that office.
Now what really happened you might be asking yourself? Well, the day that all this came to be, I went to the SO to pick up some documents. There were no parking spaces available except for Dwayne's and a handicap spot. I ran another errand hoping that a space would open, but it didn't. I will not park in a handicap spot as it is inconsiderate and illegal, so I parked in Dwayne's spot. He didn't try to park there for the 2 minutes I was in it, as he is never there anyway, but I did have your bumper sticker on my vehicle.
The next day I got the
letter saying that I am banned from the office. Now, I am a
part-time police officer and a letter was sent to that office saying
that if I bring up a prisoner I can't come thru the back doors, I have
to fill out my paperwork elsewhere. So, exactly at what point is our
"Sheriff" obstructing justice by doing this. Yet another instance of
Dwayne thinking he is above the law.
Answer: Thanks for the information, Kristy. Sounds definitely like a potential obstructing official business M-2, even up to an F-5, if the facts worked out to cause you any risk of harm as a result of his restrictions on your official business.
|Tue 6/3/2008 4:08 PM:
an aside to 'Anonymous' and all others that are for some reason
terrified to step forward into the public light of support. Why don't
you and I go together to Dwayne's World and get that information. I
would hope that Mr. Wenninger is not intending to attempt to ban us from
the lofty heights in which he sits. It's OUR building, not his.
Answer: Thanks for your support, Chuck.
|Fri 6/6/2008 11:07 AM:
Question/Comment: WHERE DO I BEGIN? FIRST IF I WERE SHERIFF IN ANY OF THE 88 COUNTIES IN THIS STATE, I WOULD BE OUTRAGED, AND WANTING SOME ANSWERS AS TO WHY THE QUALIFICATIONS/STANDARDS HAVE BEEN LOWERED TO RUN FOR SHERIFF. THIS IS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO EVERY ONE OF THEM WHO MET THE QUALIFICATIONS, AND WORK HARD AT THIS JOB. THIS IS ALSO A SLAP IN THE FACE TO EVERYONE IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, WHO TAKES PRIDE IN WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY DO! THE GALL OF A STATE SENATOR TO PULL SOMETHING LIKE THIS FOR THE BENEFIT OF ONE PERSON WHO CANNOT MEET THE QUALIFICATIONS, AND APPARENTLY ISN'T SMART ENOUGH TO FIGURE IT OUT ON HIS OWN IS APPALLING, AND UNACCEPTABLE. NEXT IF EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO WENNINGER, OR HIS LAWYER IS OKAY, THEN UNSEAL THE COURT DOCUMENTS, AND PROVE IT; ONCE AND FOR ALL. I BELIEVE THE CITIZENS OF BROWN COUNTY DESERVE TO KNOW, THAT IS IF THERE'S NOTHING TO HIDE! ALSO HOW ABOUT A DEBATE. LOTS OF LUCK WITH THAT, I DON'T THINK HE'D DO IT! DON
Answers: Thanks, Don. Every sheriff in Ohio, except for four of them, received letters informing them of this situation. If they don't find anything wrong with it, I guess that is their decision. I agree with you on that. Making an amendment as a "carve-out" for just one person is unconstitutional. The facts and Senator Niehaus' own words clearly show that is exactly what was done for Mr. Wenninger. In one breath Senator Niehaus is saying that the hierarchy of the Republican Party in Brown County asked him to look into doing it, and then in the next breath he denies it was for Mr. Wenninger, but rather for anyone who needed it in the future - the future being 13 days later for Mr. Wenninger's educational credentials to then qualify as meeting the requirements when he filed his petitions.
There are a lot of questions to be answered here, but no one seems to be digging for the answers. The case file really doesn't have to be unsealed to know what it says. Judge Ringland would not have given the jury anything to consider if there wasn't an issue with his qualifications in the first place. Why, there would never have even been an indictment if everything was satisfactory.
|Sun 6/8/2008 2:53 PM:
Question/Comment: DENNIS IF YOU ARE ELECTED DO YOU PLAN ON SPENDING MORE TIME AT THE JAIL THAN WENNINGER CURRENTLY DOES? I BELIEVE HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT GOES ON THERE AND ALLOWS THE JAIL ADMINISTRATOR WAY TOO MUCH POWER WITH NO SUPERVISION. QUESTION 2- WILL YOU HAVE DEPUTIES PLACE 72 HR HOLDS ON MENTALLY DISTURBED PERSONS AND TRANSPORT THEM TO CLERMONT MERCY (THE NEAREST APPROPRIATE FACILITY) AS THEY WERE TRAINED TO DO VS CALLING AN AMBULANCE TO TAKE THEM TO BROWN COUNTY HOSPITAL WHERE THEY SIT FOR HOURS WITH NO PSYCH PERSONNEL, NO SECURITY TO PROTECT STAFF- WHICH ALSO PLACES EMS UNAVAILABLE FOR OTHER EMERGENCIES? THE DEPUTIES RECEIVED CRISIS INTERVENTION TRAINING FOR THIS REASON. THANKS, I SUPPORT YOU AND YOUR IDEAS. ANONYMOUS- I FEAR RETALIATION
Answer: Thank you for the questions, Anonymous. I plan on spending at the very least eight hours every day on the job. Usually a salary position requires a lot more than 40 hours a week. I had on the average 200-300 hours of compensatory time every year at the prosecutor's office. I do not see any less, but probably more hours on the job as sheriff. How can you lead if you are not there to do so? Plus, one more person there every day means more help to get things done daily that is not costing the public any more in wages. I will not have any other job than that of sheriff for the years I serve the citizens. That is another promise I can easily make too at this time.
I am aware of many jail stories from several different avenues, including being intimately familiar with a couple that ended up in lawsuits while at the prosecutor's office. The most interesting information happened to be from a former inmate that was a trusty. It's odd how so much of what was conveyed coincided with information from other channels, suggesting that his information was very accurate. It is no wonder there have been so many lawsuits springing forth from the jail when you hear these stories, assuming they are accurate. Supervision, policies, procedures, training, and the desire to do a good job is what it takes to get things done right.
It was my understanding that all mental cases were pink slipped to Clermont Mercy. Your concerns and comments suggest to me that some sort of "dumping" may have taken place in lieu of using common sense. I was only directly involved, separate from the jail's actions, in one case, while at the investigator's office, that turned out to be a really severe case, where Clermont Mercy had the individual for over a week before he was well enough to release. There was a lot of coordination that had to be accomplished with the individual's family in Indianapolis, and former provider in Florida to find out his underlying problem and history, which our office ended up taking care of at that time.
|Mon 6/9/2008 7:41 PM:
Question/Comment: Hi Dennis, I wanted to say that he [Mr. Wenninger] once had a comment section to the BCSO website, and when people started speaking out giving their opinions and true experiences with robberies and how they were handled, the next day there was a statement that it was stopped because it was being used as a political tool by the opposition. Marie
Answer: Thank you for your question, Marie. Yes, there was a feedback/guestbook page on the Sheriff's website. I printed off the following, on 09/18/07, where the guestbook had earlier been located: "Thanks to all who signed our guestbook or made a constructive comment to help the Sheriff's Office in the spirit of good faith. We've received and shared a good deal of those with you, but recently, political hopefuls have targeted it anonymously and inappropriately to further their own agendas. For this reason, and also because it has proved time-consuming to maintain, the guestbook has been discontinued."
|Wed 6/11/2008 9:20 AM:
Question: Have you ever
thought of reversing all the input received on your informative campaign
web site links via emails from others to make it so that the most
recently received is at the top?
Answer: Key combination on your keyboard: Ctrl-End, will take you to the bottom fast. Ctrl-Home will take you to the top. Whether I put the latest at the top or bottom it is not going to really change anything, because most days there is nothing posted, and on others there may be several posts. It just depends on the incoming mail volume. By the way, Jay, I will have an answer to your question from a few days ago [Monday 6/2/08 above], hopefully as early as sometime this weekend.
|Thu 6/12/2008 12:12 AM:
Question: There are
some issues that have not been addressed about the sheriff’s office and
law enforcement in Brown County.
Answer: Good letter, DW. Thanks. After having worked with most of the police officers and deputies while at the prosecutor's office, I know there are some very good officers in this county that are doing a good job, not mainly for pay, because their compensation is pitiful indeed overall. This is an area, however, of great concern to me too, for some of the reasons you suggest in your letter.
The first thing necessary to correct problems like this is to be on the job daily, working with others to solve the problem. If you are not there daily, how in the world could anything be accomplished to correct these kinds of problems, particularly when the economy and dollar are tanking? So, first of all I'll be there every day working on solutions to things like this. Second, being fiscally responsible by living within the budget is absolutely necessary. There are other ways to raise money for certain accounts. One I will always be working on building up is payroll capability. When I first heard what a Sergeant with over 20 years was making, I thought they were just kidding. It was true. I've already been addressing this problem, trying to come up with several things that can be done to help out. One is already in place, but first of all we've got to get past November 4th with a majority of votes. These kinds of problems involve both short and long term planning. One small item that can help in this area is, I don't need $58K to do that job. We'll see how that can help too.
6/18/2008 9:22 PM:
Comment/Response: I am writing this in response to Jay one
of your readers and commenters. He requested information on attrition
rates and any possible comparisons with prior Sheriffs. The commenter is
likely a current or former law enforcement officer with a basic
knowledge or at least an understanding of some management practices. I
was responsible for tracking some of this statistical information for
several months under former Sheriff Wendell Crawford. I am a current
Brown County Deputy although I no longer perform those duties.
Answer: Thanks for answering Jay's questions sent on Mon 6/2/2008 10:50 PM, about the statistics and our department.
Thu 6/26/2008 12:39 PM:
Question/Comment: To everyone who keep saying the qualification challenge rests solely on technicalities chew on this: it was technicalities that forced K.O. Martin to run without party backing in 04. Had the board of elections ignored the law then, K.O. would have become Sheriff. I think maybe K.O. should consider a lawsuit against the board of elections for making him "play by the rules while turning the blind eye to Mr. Wenninger's lack of required credentials. BCC
Answer: Good point, Scott. Thanks. "Some animals are more equal than others."
Thu 6/26/2008 12:48 PM:
Question/Comment: Anyone asking for your qualifications should read your brochure. It is very simple and to the point. I have not found anything as to Mr. Wenninger's qualifications. If his qualifications are "7.5 years of pouring concrete and collecting a paycheck from the county" I am not impressed. BCC
Answer: BCC, thanks. I keep hearing statements coming in like this: "Well, what are his qualifications, etc." What to do about it??? I have had a brochure published for over a year now with this information in it. I have this website with the same information on it. I have been publishing every two weeks different ads that cover other things I would do, etc. Information about me is completely accessible through these avenues. Anyone who takes a few minutes can locate this information, if they want to. I think this is where the problem lies.
Intimidation, coercion, and other unlawful acts aimed at three of my supporters - 07/10/08
Over the last month or so, there have been three separate incidents of intimidation, coercion, and other unlawful acts aimed at intimidating three of my supporters. Two of these acts probably constitute felonies, and the other teeters on the edge of being criminal under existing election laws. The election law pertaining to these kinds of acts is as follows:
Facts of each incident are as follows:
Incident #1: Sometime between the 11th and 15th of June, one of my supporters, an indigenous resident of Brown County, had his tractor covertly drained of its engine oil in what appears to have been an attempt at sabotage, apparently to intimidate this supporter. There was no video of this incident during the time period indicated. The oil drain plug was removed from the tractor where it was parked in the barn, and all the oil drained was captured so that the supporter would not suspect anything that would prevent him from starting, and ruining, his tractor's engine unwittingly.
Incident #2: The bicycle shop owner in Georgetown, adjacent to the empty lot on Cherry Street and Mount Orab Pike, owns the narrow strip of grassy land that is directly north, and adjacent to the back side of the Methodist Church on the corner of Rt. 125 and Mount Orab Pike, across the street from the Georgetown Police Department. The supporter who owns that land has planted one of my yard signs close to the road in that grassy plot of property. Supposedly the church used to own this land but traded it to the previous owner of the bicycle shop building for something in return.
Apparently some of the ladies who allegedly play cards with my opponent's wife, complained that they are irritated the sign is placed there because it looks as if the church is supporting my campaign. For the record, as most church-going individuals know, churches do not normally get politically involved or else they lose their tax-exempt status with the IRS.
In any event, I have received phone calls from individuals demanding that I remove this sign because it is my campaign sign, I own it, or that I tell the supporter to move it from its present placement because these church members do not like it being there. And, that if I don't have it moved, I will lose votes.
If one takes the time to think about what is going on here, there are several things that disturb me, personally. First of all, I doubt that I ever had any votes secured from those who are complaining. Nevertheless, this supporter owns his land and is doing nothing illegal at all with the placement of his sign. I say "his" sign because when I pass out these signs, even though I have paid for them and my name is on them, I am "giving" them to each person who receives them, and they technically become his/her own personal property. There is no contract involved when giving these signs out, except that I tell each person who receives them that if I see them placed on any right-of-ways, I will remove them because that is an illegal placement of a campaign sign within a roadway right-of-way.
So, in a sense, what is going on here is something akin to "mob rule." Nothing illegal is being done at all, but supposedly the placement of this sign is anathema. If the tables were turned, and one of the complainants had my opponent's sign on their property, and one of my supporters did not like where it was placed close to his/her property, can anyone imagine the response that would be provided from one of those individuals? Why, they'd most likely be quite offended to the point where one would probably be told to mind his own business at the very least.
I did have a talk with the supporter about this matter. He said to have those who were complaining to call him about it, and wondered why they were calling me about it since it was his sign on his land. I told him I didn't know the names of those who are allegedly doing the complaining. The bottom line is this. In our country there is an amendment to our Constitution that has something to do with "free speech." We are a nation of laws. Well, we're supposed to be. If there is something that should be changed so that it is becomes classified as illegal, there is a process to have that implemented. Contacting legislative representatives is the first step to getting the laws changed that we want to have enacted.
Definitely no law enforcement officer should ever be involved in dictating what anyone does with his or her own property, real or personal, as long as nothing illegal is being done. Actually, the placement of that sign will probably provide an opportunity for any one of the complainers to campaign for my opponent when asked if that is a church sign. It might also provide a golden opportunity for them to change the subject and discuss the Bible instead with any person asking about the sign and its relationship to the church, if any. The politics surrounding this sign thus far indicate to me that it could generate many opportunities for these church members to direct the topic of conversation away from politics and into the spiritual realm, which after all is much more important in the long run for any individual than present day politics, in my opinion. Eternity in hell is much more damning than this political hell we have to deal with down here every few years. Just my personal opinion again.
Incident #3: Involves threats of criminal charges being brought against a middle-aged lady's son if she did not remove my bumper sticker from her vehicle. This incident occurred at her place of employment, starting at approximately 06:55:20 hrs, as indicated on the surveillance video, on Wednesday, June 25. Surveillance video of the incident is very clear and absolutely persuasive when coupled with the victim's statement. There were also two witnesses to the incident, one who also heard what was being said to the lady, and the other who saw the perpetrator enter and leave the store. The action by the perpetrator appears on its face to have possibly been the commission of a fourth degree felony under the election laws, recorded on the surveillance video. Intimidation of this sort reminds one of the South back in the 60's. It's not the kind of thing that should be happening today in Brown County. I heard it rumored that this was possibly being investigated by an out-of-county agency to avoid any politically-motivated excuses being used in the future as a defense by the perpetrator. Any further intimidation of the victim or witnesses in this incident would be stacking up more potential felonies that could also be presented to a grand jury.
Incident #4: On the evening after the Decatur Parade, a supporter's new SUV was keyed in a grocery store parking lot.
If you are a supporter and have been the target of what you consider to be intimidation or coercion just because you back me in the coming election, immediately contact your local law enforcement agency. If you do not have surveillance video installed, it can be installed in ways that are next to impossible to detect because the cameras are so very small. They are actually so small now they can be hidden in the bark of a tree behind a pinhole.
Surveillance video equipment has decreased in price and has improved immensely over the last few years. IP cameras can be installed anywhere there is cable, DSL, or broadband wireless access, so that you can have the capability to view what the camera is aimed at on a computer located anywhere in the world. You can get cameras that can be controlled in tilt, pan, and zoom, [PTZ] from your remote computer location. Very low light level and infrared cameras are available that work well in the night or day. Video evidence is very compelling if it is of good quality. Catch the crooks! Install surveillance video as required to protect your property from thieves, criminals, and thugs.
Thu 7/10/2008 2:40 PM:
Comment: To those harassed for supporting Mr. Varnau, STAND UP, STAY STRONG, and as my grandfather would say, DON'T LET THE ***TARDS GET YOU DOWN! It's time for a change, let's stand together and make it happen people! Mr. H
Answer: Thank you for the mail, Mr. H.
Fri 7/11/2008 1:48 AM:
regards to Sheriff Wenninger bragging about the neighborhood watch
program on his brochure ( http://www.browncountyohiosheriff.us/Primary%20BCP%20Ad.pdf )
it needs to say "works to develop neighborhood watch if we like your
community."- News Democrat- refusing to work with the Village of
Higginsport citizens for a program due to CD Schadle and him not liking
Chief Bailey. Anonymous
Answer: Thanks, Anonymous.
Mon 7/28/2008 7:06 AM:
When are you going to start running on your merits instead of making
false aquisations [sic] regarding your opponent. I believe in th [sic]
democratic system and challenging your opponet [sic]. Evidentally ]sic]
you have no experience and qualifications to run for sheriff or you
would be running on them.
Answer: Thanks for the question, Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous.
Actually, there are several in the community who wish to completely control my candidacy, dictating what I can and cannot say, what I can and cannot talk about, etc. They want me to be a regular run-of-the-mill "politician," and I'm not! I am not a politician, don't want to be one, will not be made into one, and hate being classified as being one. With that in mind, I'll gladly answer your questions on my own, as I have done in every question/comment and answer posted on my website.
My qualifications have been published on the Internet, in the newspaper, brochures, and my phone number is in the phone book. If any person genuinely wanted to know what my qualifications are, all they need do is pick up a finger and start clicking, turning pages, or dialing a phone. I find the comment that I have not posted my qualifications for anyone to examine totally specious. I am qualified twice over as a legitimate candidate for the office of Sheriff, the same as Don Newman, who is also legitimately qualified to be a candidate for the office of Sheriff. Both Don and I are qualified, whereas our opponent was never qualified, and is still not qualified. We will see if he is qualified or not, if my petition for the writ of mandamus is not dismissed this coming Thursday at 1300 hrs, and is eventually granted by the court. That's the democratic, legal way elections are carried out.
Notice my website, with my name clearly printed thereon, juxtaposed to your nameless, anonymous e-mail, and, you are telling me to "Stand up and be a man?" Why are you afraid to put your name to your questions? I do not publish names unless told or given permission to do so. Stand up yourself with the courage to deal with some truth that has been posted on my website that has, to date, not yet been answered by my opponent.
False accusations? What false accusations have I made concerning my opponent? Please name the false accusations you are referring to that I have made, that have not been denied by my opponent?
Almost every time I go out in the community, someone will invariably approach me with a story about my opponent. I have no way of knowing whether such is a "setup" or if there is some substance to what I am being told. I have to be cautious in any event, for "politics" is dirty. Rarely do politicians deal with truth it seems. They are more likely to spread lies about someone else to stir up the pot for some "political" reason. For instance, I work in Ripley as an auxiliary officer, and hear many stories down there as well as elsewhere. One story told to me alleged that my opponent and one of his friends, during their high school years, stole someone's motorcycle and they parted it out, sold the parts, after dismantling the motorcycle in a garage there in Ripley. Is this story factual? I wonder! With all the names of those involved, except for whose motorcycle was allegedly stolen, and how and by whom the story was told to me, it sure does sound like a possibility. Is there truth to this story??? Why don't you ask my opponent and see how he responds to the question. You never know when it comes to this political campaigning stuff, what is true and factual, and what is being planted for some ulterior motive or result.
Take for instance the incident that was exposed in The Brown County Press this last Sunday that happened at United Dairy Farmers. Who is telling the truth in that situation? I was approached by a lady who told me a story, the same way others do out in the community from time to time. Was she telling me the truth or not? I had no idea at the time, but when she produced a surveillance video corroborating her story, I then knew that there was a potential fourth degree felony involved in this incident. That put me on the spot personally because failure to report a felony is a fourth degree misdemeanor for someone who is aware of a felony having been committed and not reporting it, particularly an attorney and police officer. I legally had to notify the proper law enforcement agency about this matter. Also, if true, this lady is a direct victim, whereas my campaign and I are indirect victims of such alleged action by, mind you, the top law enforcement officer in the county! The video is quite clear as to what happened that morning. Either the video and two to three other individuals are lying, or my opponent is lying about what happened. You decide. Why would my opponent be so concerned about her son's well-being a month after he fired him for allegedly committing a crime during his employ??? If I owned the business, I'd be particularly concerned about someone coming into my store and committing a crime against one of my employees while doing her job.
I am qualified to be sheriff, whereas my opponent is not. Fact! My qualifications, etc., have been published for over a year and a half now in print and on the Internet. Anyone who cannot find out what my qualifications are at this point in time has no genuine interest in finding out, or they would have spent some time reading this website instead of just using it to send an e-mail like yours above.
I'm not a politician. I ran for this job specifically to straighten things out. After seeing what I witnessed in the prosecutor's office for 3.5 years, I realized that someone had to do something. I have the qualifications, and I know I can do a better job of managing that office than what has been done over the last 7.5 years. It's the only reason I'm running, because I am not moving anymore. I don't need that job, as there are many other jobs available to me, but this county needs a sheriff that is full-time, and one who is knowledgeable of the law. You will NEVER see me buying a brand new TV in the box from a known felon by almost every law enforcement officer in Clermont and Brown County, who recently pleaded guilty on July 1st to felony counts of theft - including the TV that was bought by my opponent - for less than half price of what I paid for the exact same new TV a couple of months earlier on sale at Sears. That is fact, not fiction. There are individuals from our county who received less in stolen property value that went to prison over such conduct. You will NEVER see me using my government position to line my own pockets directly or indirectly, or to hire my family members, or do commercial government business with them to sell me oil or anything else. You will NEVER see me using government property to ferry family, friends, and/or relatives, to and from the airport, or use it to haul equipment, like a cement mixer or Bobcat, owned by my personal business, for one absolutely obvious reason - being Sheriff WILL be my full-time job for four years. Using government property for my own personal gain, I believe, would be peculation, as clear as it gets, another felony, as far as the law is concerned. If you want more of the same of that kind of conduct, then elect a "politician" to be your next Sheriff. I'm not going to lose one night of sleep over not winning an election, and, that's a FACT!
Mon 7/28/2008 2:50 PM:
Question/Comment: Maybe these people don't like to read. I have never been able to find out so much about a candidate as you. Keep up the good work, something is going on because just about every time my wife and I go out someone has a positive comment. They see the bumper sticker or shirt and say something good, the bad part is they also add "you better watch out" or "we leave a light on at night." To me that is sooooooo sad. Why would so many people feel intimidated??? I just don't get it, if you win (please let it be so!!!) or Mr. Wenninger wins all I would want is the person to do their job: Serve BROWN COUNTY!! Hey on a selfish note, do you have ballcaps available??? Good Wishes Stephen
Answer: Thanks for the mail, Stephen. I personally think that the majority of people don't like politics, and believe me, that fits me too exactly! A lot are too busy with daily life just trying to make ends meet, and they just don't have the time nor energy to devote to finding out what is actually going on downtown. At the rate of 8000 foreclosures every day in our country, it will not be much longer before everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, in our country will directly feel the effects of what partisan party politics has created for us in OUR country. I will personally be surprised if we get past October of this year without the dollar completely collapsing. I don't know how some young families are making it now with the cost of everything going up daily. And now that the federal government has used all of us taxpayers again, this time to bail out Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, these "turnips," that's US, are going to be completely bloodless in short order. Few people realize what is going on in the world and national economies, and how that is going to directly affect their daily lives in a few more months. "It can't happen here. This is America," is what I hear most. And, that statement says it all for me in two short sentences - they're not reading; have their head in the ground; or, are in complete denial. Maybe all three! We are all going to have to stick together as a county unit to survive in the coming years, and if that doesn't happen, you can expect the worst for us as a community and nation. The planning for rough times ahead needs to be on the planning boards right now, not after it happens. That will be too late!
Tue 07/29/08 9:00 PM:
Answer continued: Stephen. Your statement of "Why would so many people feel intimidated?" had me thinking more about that question since my initial response yesterday. The more I thought about all this, the more I feel there is a real possibility that some of the things that have been told to me, in the way of allegations, many of which I have not put in print because the hard facts are just not there to support the stories, just may have some credence to them in support of the following theory:
Could it be perceived intimidation is there because my opponent knows a whole lot of "stuff," about a huge number of individuals, that have many things they would not like coming out into the open? You know, like "skeletons in the closet" that are hiding behind numerous individuals personal financial, legal, and moral, "doors." If you think about it for a few minutes, it does not take long to imagine that the stakes may be so very high for my opponent, that he cannot afford, in more ways than just monetary considerations, to lose the upcoming election. For instance, what would happen if he was ever put on the spot to the point where he may have to talk to make a deal to cover his own hinny for some unknown reason, or, as a result of some investigation, or, court judgment, etc.? What does he know that others would definitely not want anyone else to ever find out?
He might become something like a "Tar Baby," where numerous "Brer Rabbits" are stuck in history and time to him by hard discoverable facts behind their personal closet "doors," to the point where the whole bunch cannot be picked up and thrown into the briar patch for a collective way out. He could become many individuals "worst nightmare" if he is put into a situation where it's his hide, if he doesn't talk, or theirs'. Most individuals, with a lot to lose, that are put into this kind of a "squeeze," tend to "sing like a canary" when the consequences become seriously palpable. Could this be why there are so many people out there who feel intimidated at this time? Just a potential theory. Who knows?
We usually really never know, or can imagine, what is going on until way after the incident actually happened. Take for instance that person in the news yesterday who worked at the Hamilton County morgue, who was having sexual intercourse with cadavers that were brought to the morgue for autopsies. If it hadn't been for DNA typing, this person may never have been caught. It's hard to imagine that anyone would do something like that, but it apparently happened, and he has already confessed to such.
Only time will tell! Time has a way of sorting everything out, eventually. A history of facts cannot be changed after-the-fact. I'll keep thinking about this. I'm sure there are other theories that could be proffered to account for this apparent general public perception of intimidation. [Again, my own thoughts - not those of anyone else "in the community."]
Wed 7/30/2008 8:12 PM:
Hi Dennis, Just wanted to send a few words of encouragement. Keep up the
good work. I notice you have a LOT of signs out across the county. Many
supporters in the Hiport area!
Answer: Thanks so much for your input, Marie. Very good point! I am able to add one myself from a recent newspaper obituary, one of Tammy's cousins is my opponent's personal secretary at the SO. I'm sure there are more connections that could be made. I found out that I too am connected through my little sister's husband to an indigenous Brown County family up in Fayetteville. Nevertheless, the bottom line is this, at least for me. As an officer it should not matter "who" a person is, whether related by affinity, consanguinity, or because of social status, wealth, etc., everyone should be treated the same, equally, when it comes to the law. I think there is a mandatory responsibility on the part of one who holds an office that has the power and authority to arrest individuals, that such power is NEVER used in the way you describe in your second paragraph above. Never! That, to me, is an egregious abuse of power, plain and simple. Some people can really "get under your skin" at times, and some dedicate every effort to do so, it's part of what the job entails daily.
Thu 7/31/2008 11:10 AM:
Prior to, if, when you may/ are elected would you care to share with all
of your possible constituents and/ or readers of this wonderfully
informative site, your pre-reqs for a Chief Deputy Sheriff in and for
The Brown County, Ohio, Sheriff's Office?
Answer: Thanks for your mail, Jay. If I am elected on November 4th, I'll make my final decision on just who will be in the top supervisory positions. At this time, I can say that I have had four individuals on my mind for the CD position. Obviously, the CD has to have the integrity, experience, dedication, and administrative experience to hold the position, and will most surely be a sworn peace officer, with a valid OPOTA certificate. I can tell you that will not be my opponent.
What I am most concerned about is equal treatment, equal opportunity, and fair dealing, with all in the department when it comes to promotions, etc. That has to be done on a completely objective basis as much as humanly possible. There is no better way to destroy the morale of a department than to cater to cronyism or nepotism when it comes to promotions. I have friends and acquaintances that I know possess the integrity and honesty that I think is absolutely necessary to be a peace officer. These friends and acquaintances already know they are not going to be given any preference over anyone else already there, just because of my pre-existing relationship with them. Promotions will be considered according to objective standards and testing used by larger departments in our state.
I am concerned about the pay our deputies make. There have to be some ways to increase pay across the board, but that will take some time to correct, particularly in light of the hard times coming with the dollar crashing, and county revenue dropping. I think budgets will be decreased before being increased, which means things have to be managed better to squeeze out the most of every penny available for yearly operations. This is where "teamwork" comes into play. If everyone is not on the same team to "protect and serve," then someone has to pick up the slack not carried by those slacking off. Management is the key word here.
Thu 07/31/08 6:00PM:
OUTCOME OF TODAY'S COURT HEARING ON
THE MOTION TO DISMISS
Today at 1300 hrs, Magistrate Nathan Thompson held a hearing on the Board of Election's Amended Motion to Dismiss my Petition for a Writ of Mandamus. The decision of the Court was to deny the Board's motion to dismiss. This means that the Court will accept a stipulation of the facts acceptable to both sides, and any memorandums either side deems necessary to submit to the court before 1600 hrs on 21 August. The court will then take every document and exhibit it has in its possession and generate its final decision to issue or deny my request for the writ. That final ruling will most likely be published by September 1st.
What does this all mean? The prosecutor's office represents the Board of Elections in this matter. It is almost a natural matter of course for counsel to make a motion to dismiss on behalf of his client. What was claimed by the Board's counsel, the prosecutor's office, was that my petition failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Essentially, they are saying that I have no reason to be making this request of the court. By denying the motion to dismiss, the court is essentially saying, "No, there is a valid issue presented, or reason present for this case to be considered by the court, that being my claim that the election laws that prevent me from challenging my opponent's partisan candidacy, where he could challenge mine, denies my right to equal protection, thereby violating my constitutional right to that equal protection guaranteed me under the Ohio and U.S. Constitutions.
So, unless there is a rational, logical reason why my opponent had the legal right to challenge my candidacy up until May 30, 2008, but I had no right to ever challenge his candidacy, either before the primary or after, up to May 30th, then there is an unconstitutional unequal treatment situation present with respect to the existing applicable election laws.
There has, to my knowledge, never been a case presented like this before in Ohio, or any other state in the country. It is unique, or what is called "a case of first impression." That's good and bad, depending on which seat you occupy in the courtroom. Overall consensus after the hearing was that Magistrate Thompson was very thorough, leaving no stone unturned. The pressure is on the court now having a case of first impression, that entails a constitutional issue that will undoubtedly directly affect state election laws, if the statute in question is found to be unconstitutional by the Court. Plus, if the Court finds the statute unconstitutional, then my request for the writ has legitimacy, which means the court can order the Board to accept my protest of my opponent's candidacy as being a valid and timely filing back on April 11th, in which case the content of my protest will have to be examined by the Secretary of State and/or the Attorney General's office to determine if the legal argument contained therein has merit.
So, what is alleged in the protest is this. If the writ is eventually issued ordering the Board to accept my protest as valid and timely, it will be like any other valid protest of a candidacy, and handled as such. That means, if my analysis of the election laws being mandatory and requiring strict compliance, dictate that a candidate for sheriff is not qualified and SHALL NOT be elected or appointed UNLESS he/she meets ALL the following requirements as outlined in ORC§311.01(B)(8) & (9), and even then, if he gets by that plain statutory language and gets elected being unqualified, he still has to rectify the disqualification immediately upon assuming the position or else he forfeits the seat, which my opponent did not do - he did not rectify his initial lack of educational experience required. Therefore, he was never "legally" in the position as sheriff in Brown County, and therefore could not appoint himself with the Ohio Peace Officers' Training Commission (OPOTC) on the SF400afm that he filed with OPOTC. If you are not legally there, you can't do it! Thus, what is called a "break in service" on his OPOTC certificate started the day he appointed himself with OPOTC. Four years later, his OPOTC certificate completely expired, to the point where he would have to re-take the whole police academy all over again to get re-certified as a police officer.
What it all means, if the legal analysis in the protest allegations are found to be accurate, is that my opponent just might have actually been a civilian two days before he assumed his second term seat. If that be the case, then there are a whole myriad of other legal issues that could arise for things done over at least the last four years. But the kind of alleged illegal conduct supposedly at UDF could potentially spawn some gigantic civil lawsuits by the store owner, and alleged victim, against my opponent, in his capacity as a civilian, and "officer" acting in uniform under color of law, as well as another suit or two stacked up on the county's long list of past and present lawsuits springing forth from the sheriff's department. Sooner or later, someone will have to do something. I'm just the "pitiful," "Paul Revere" candidate that needs some testosterone injections.
Mon 8/4/2008 11:31 PM:
Answer: Thanks, Jim, for the clarification and concern. When I said, "I'm sure there are more connections that could be made," I was not referring to your wife, but rather others who may also be related by affinity or consanguinity. As per our discussion when you signed up to join the VFW, you had reiterated what you have said above, and I had already known that Tammy has worked under four sheriffs, so it is very clear that there is no favor with respect to her present boss as far as her present position. Nevertheless, there is an affinity relationship present, and it may or may not be accurately termed as "cousin." All I was pointing out is another connection, and there may be other individuals who are related too. All just facts. Whether that is derogatory or not is the way one may read what is written, which is why I have posted your mail so there is no misunderstanding whatsoever about innuendo or anything else that may be read in by those reading these pages.
Tue 8/5/2008 8:56 AM:
Question/Comment: Good morning, Dennis, looks like this gentleman got his feathers ruffled and overreacted. Any person would be able to figure that a veteran Sheriff's Office employee such as his wife, was not just appointed in recent years by the current administration! Mr . Jim Dillinger is making an emotional reaction defending his wife, which is sweet of him. But you go, Dennis. I believe your momentum is revving up! Marie
Answer: Thanks for your mail, Marie. I have heard from many who have worked with Tammy, particularly back when she was directly involved in the FOP matters years ago, that she was a hard worker. That's really a good report. That fact, however, does not have anything to do with affinity relationships.
Tue 8/5/2008 10:36 AM:
Your words are of truth wisdom and experience.
Wed 8/6/2008 2:09 AM:
I find it very interesting when they had a large bar fight at the Lively
Lady 2 weeks ago in Aberdeen law officials from Aberdeen, Ripley,
Georgetown, Russellville, OSP, Manchester/Adams County Sheriff's
Department and even from Maysville, KY responded. Where was the Brown
County Sheriff's Department? Were they not notified, or was their one
car busy, or did the news media forget to add them to the report?
Answer: Thanks for the mail, Anonymous. I believe that there was only one BCSO car on the road that evening, and he was inundated with calls himself to the point where he could not make it there. I'd like to have as many as are necessary and can be financially supported. If I'm not mistaken, three cars was a norm for quite some time, one up north, middle, and south in the county. I am told that equipping the cruisers with lights and sirens has been done for years by a major supporter/donator to Mr. Wenninger's campaigns. Not sure if that work was placed out on bid or not. Good questions!