No Harassment, No Victim, No Investigation. Expelled Anyway.

Jack Hunter

August 8, 2016

As a college student, I earned a degree in Law Enforcement, but I ended up pursuing a successful business career. At the age of 52, I decided I wanted to become a volunteer deputy at the local Sheriff’s Office.

But first I had to complete a rigorous vetting process, which involves the same procedures as for a full-time officer. The evaluation included a 200-hour background check, physiological testing, and a voice stress analysis. I passed all the checks and took my oath to uphold the Constitution.

After two years serving as an auxiliary deputy, I decided I wanted to qualify for more advanced assignments. So I enrolled in the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, which is affiliated with Kent State University. My wife of 20 years and two teenage daughters were all committed to helping get Dad through school.

Four months into the program things were progressing well, other than the ribbing I occasionally endured about my age and being called the class know-it-all because I answered many of the Instructors’ questions.

One of our classes involved training on deadly force, which covers the protective procedures utilized when an officer is under attack. One student, playing the perpetrator, crouches over another student, playing the officer, and pretends to strike the officer in the face. In self-defense, the officer rolls the perpetrator over, changing positions to neutralize the threat.

For purposes of this training exercise, I was the designated “perpetrator” and a female student in the class the designated “officer.” The demonstration proceeded uneventfully and the class dismissed.

But at the next class, I was called out of the room and escorted to the administrator’s office. At that time, I was accused of “inappropriate contact” with the female cadet during the training demonstration.

Oddly, the complaint was not filed by the female student who had participated in the training exercise, or by any of the three instructors who closely observed our every move. Instead, the complaint came from another student who claimed he witnessed this “inappropriate” contact. None of the other 25 students watching the demonstration noticed anything out of the ordinary.

Adding to the irony was the fact that this female classmate and I were friends. She often solicited my help with her classwork. Just 20 minutes before I was summoned to the office, she had joined me and another student for lunch.

Now, I found myself being escorted out of the building.

Three days later the Investigator sent me a text message informing me that I was being terminated from the school. Three weeks the Termination Letter arrived. The letter contained accusations of actions that had never occurred and for which no substantiation was provided. The letter concluded with these blunt words: “No Appeal.”

Stunned and shocked, I requested an appeal. The university legal counsel directed me to the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, which in turn sent me back to the university. After a year of repeated requests, the hearing was granted. But the school refused to return my calls to answer questions how the hearing would be conducted.

In Kafkaesque manner, no written charges were presented at the hearing. I was not allowed to call anyone to speak on my behalf.

Previously the Investigator, a sitting police officer, had claimed a written statement existed to justify his actions. But at the hearing, I learned that no written statements were taken at the time of the alleged incident. Indeed, the Investigator had never even spoken to the alleged “victim.”

By definition, this represents a falsification of the evidence.

I then contacted the college dean, the Ohio Board of Regents, and others to review the finding in hopes of changing the outcome, without success.

These events have imposed unimaginable hardships on me and have taken a heavy toll on my family. The emotional damage has been devastating. I am now approaching two years in counseling to deal with the feelings of betrayal of everything I believed in. I had to cash in my retirement to cover legal costs that have already exceeded $20,000.

Needless to say, the Training Academy’s actions have destroyed my dream to work in law enforcement. To this day, I remain dumbfounded as the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy is training future police officers, many of whom will one day become investigators of sex-related crimes.