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Fairfield police chief: ‘I certainly never intended to offend or hurt anyone’

An attorney who reviewed Fairfield Police Chief Steve Maynard’s use of a slur that describes a gay man said he was more concerned about that statement than a pair of “immature” acts in which Maynard, as a young officer, exposed himself, according to a report first obtained by the Journal-News.

In December 2017, City Manager Mark Wendling hired Cincinnati attorney Douglas Duckett for more than $8,100 to investigate claims that Maynard had exposed himself to other officers while off duty on two occassions when he was a single officer in his mid-20s. The officers Maynard exposed himself to did not file a police report, nor did they take any action at the time. They say they not offended at what happened, according to the report.

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Wendling said that after the investigation Maynard was still the best candidate, in his opinion, for the job of Fairfield chief of police.

Maynard, a 19-year department veteran, was promoted on Feb. 26 from being the department’s operations commander lieutenant to police chief. He was the top choice among five finalists.

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Maynard admitted to using the homophobic slur when he was a member of the Hamilton-Fairfield SWAT team. In the report Maynard said he probably used the term, but couldn’t point to a specific incident outside of SWAT training.

“I certainly never intended to offend or hurt anyone,” said Maynard in an interview. He resigned as the SWAT team’s commander when he was promoted to police chief.

Duckett wrote that Maynard’s use of the term was “a fundamental misjudgment on his part,” and it was equivalent to other demeaning slurs based on race and gender. He concluded that Maynard’s casual use of the word showed “a disturbing lack of judgement and perception, at least in this area.”

And he exclusvely told the Journal-News, that what he’s done in his past, “That is not who I am today.”

While Maynard said he likely used the term during his time on SWAT, he adamantly denied that to Duckett and the Journal-News he used that term while in a supervisory role as a member of the Fairfield Police Department.

Wendling said he believes Maynard did not intend to hurt anyone, or used the term in a homophobic manner, but “nonetheless, words have an impact, and he and I have discussed that at length.”

“Steve is one member of the department, and he was counseled extensively about it and when we went through the process,” Wendling said. “I read the report, and I took it all into consideration. I felt that after speaking with him he understood the gravity of the word and the potential impact of the word, and it’s not something you could use going forward.”

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The city conducted “extensive” training with the police department on the use of words, and one of those training sessions included police supervisors, Wendling said.

“He never intended it to inflict harm on anyone, but nonetheless there are those who would be extremely offended by the word,” Wendling said.

The discovery of Maynard’s use of the term while on the SWAT team came during the course of Duckett’s investigation. No one made a specific allegation, but the issue arose when an officer who claimed Mayard called him that term mentioned it during an interview with Duckett. The officer claimed Maynard called him that term during a meeting about body cams. That officer did not file any complaint with then-Police Chief Mike Dickey, who was Maynard’s supervisor, and Duckett indicated in his report that officer’s claim was not credible.

According to Duckett’s report, Maynard said that officer “makes stuff up and exaggerates stuff….” In an exclusive interview with Maynard this past April, which also included Wendling, he said he did not trust that officer. That declaration was also included in the report.

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