Hensley resigned June 23 after he and Gutman filed a formal complaint, via their attorney, against Herzog. They accused him of making sexist and racial remarks, favoritism and retaliation, in their February complaint. The township hired an independent lawyer to investigate the charges, and he found Herzog should not face disciplinary action but some of his actions were not appropriate.
The trustees paid about $50,000 to hire Douglas Duckett, a lawyer who is Butler County’s former human resources director, to investigate the captains’ complaints. The trustees said hiring an impartial, third-party to investigate was imperative and they pay attorneys fees for many different things. Recently four other officers also filed complaints about Herzog, mainly for his inappropriate joking.
The trustees addressed those issues that were internally investigated in the statement as well.
“These comments from the chief were inappropriate, a fact he acknowledges, they did not translate into action by the chief or the officers in the performance of their duties; and there is a performance improvement plan in place to ensure change from Chief Herzog,” Becker read.
Township administrators recently gave both Herzog and Gutman, who remains on duty, performance improvement plans.
The captains’ attorney Elizabeth Tuck said her clients are still weighing their legal options. She said the trustees’ statements are “categorically false and do a disservice to all of the men and women of the West Chester Police Department.”
“Rather than address the grave and very real problems plaguing the department from the top, the trustees have instead chosen to scapegoat the very people who were courageous enough to expose these problems,” she said.
Several outside groups, like the NAACP Hamilton/Fairfield/West Chester and Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) Cincinnati have issued statements saying Herzog should be fired.
Herzog has been quiet since Duckett’s report was issued at the end of June. He told the Journal-News in an email he was grateful for the trustee’s support.
“The support and confidence of the Board of Trustees and the community makes me determined to be a better police chief and better leader,” he wrote. “I’m committed to making sure our department, in every way, is a reflection of this incredible community and the people who call it home, and I’m humbled by the opportunity to move forward.”