We’re concerned about what Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish’s apparent investigation by the FBI might mean for the county and for the man.
First, we take some solace in this week’s news from his attorney that Crish checked himself into an inpatient treatment center. The statement was vague, but we hope Crish gets the proper treatment to get over whatever ails him. Addictions of all sorts can be difficult to overcome, and the community owes its top law-enforcement officer its moral support.
However, that same statement leaves us a bit worried that Crish still considers himself the law of the land. While unofficially turning over day-to-day authority to Chief Deputy Jim Everett, the statement said Crish will routinely check in with Everett during his stay at the treatment center.
Let’s make sure we’re following this, step by step.
1. The FBI searched the sheriff’s office, with what appears to be a focus on Crish.
2. Crish hasn’t been back to work in the office since then.
3. Crish hasn’t declared any kind of guilt or innocence.
4. Crish checked himself into an inpatient treatment center based on something related to the FBI’s visit, acknowledging he had some kind of a problem.
5. Crish still wants to be hands-on, even though his hands can’t be at the office right now.
Crish has a different kind of job from most of us. He doesn’t have to keep a timesheet or maintain certain office hours. He doesn’t really have vacation or sick time to take. He works when he feels he needs to work. In fact, one member of the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association told us the sheriff officially only has to work one out of every 90 days, based on some antiquated laws.
So some of this can be gray area, since it’s so different from most people’s situations.
Still, we’re concerned about him working at all, especially since he’s overcoming some type of issue.
We’re concerned his decision-making skills might be impaired. We’re worried that a defense attorney might suggest his decision-making skills might be impaired, putting an undue focus on his client. We don’t want crime-fighting to get entangled on whether Crish’s judgment calls somehow affected what crimes were pursued and why.
We’re also worried about the kinds of liability he might open the county to by being there. We’re also concerned about putting deputies in the position of working for a man under investigation by the FBI.
For his own recovery and the sanctity of the court system, we urge Crish to take a self-imposed exile from the sheriff’s office until he’s truly healthy and the FBI investigation ends.