Saturday, January 10, 1998
Death, search take toll on chief
Covington force expands search on 6th day

BY JANE PRENDERGAST
The Cincinnati Enquirer

mates
Mike Partin
COVINGTON, Ky. - Most days, Police Chief Al Bosse doesn't say much. He is quiet, sometimes to the point of being misunderstood.

Until Friday, he hadn't spoken out about the department's first loss of an officer in almost 30 years. Some misunderstood that too, thinking he didn't have much to say about Officer Mike Partin.

That's not true.

''It's been hard on everyone up here,'' the chief said in an interview with The Enquirer. ''From the police chief's point of view, the commander's point of view . . . it's kind of a gut-wrenching feeling that you get. But I don't think anybody wants to give up. We're not even thinking about it.''

The chief was a rookie the last time a man who wore the Covington Police Department badge died in the line of duty. That was Donald Ronnebaum, who was hit by a truck on Interstate 75 in July 1968. Then-Officer Bosse had been doing the same traffic detail just an hour or so before.

''That's one of the things I was hoping,'' he said, ''to get through my term and not lose any of my officers.''

Crews searched for Officer Partin's body again Friday for a sixth day, on two boats. One traveled 14 miles down one shoreline, then returned up the other side, checking to see whether Officer Partin's body had washed up. The 14-mile mark was set because authorities estimated that would be how far the body could have traveled.

The other boat pushed along what is called the debris line, the path in the water where much of the debris collects and moves downstream, and checked around barges. The teams also checked the five or six spots identified Thursday where extra debris collected. Divers have not been used for several days.

''I think some of us have started the grieving process,'' Assistant Chief Bill Dorsey said. ''They know that Mike's gone.''

Support for the department and Officer Partin's widow, Lisa, continued to come from around the community. One company made special badges for officers' spouses to wear. Covington firefighters donated a banner to be hung on police headquarters at 20th Street and Madison Avenue.

The Cincinnati Police Division put information about Officer Partin on its Web page www.cincinnatipolice.org/mpartin.htm> Sgt. Ron Baker planned to work over the weekend on Covington's page, hoping to add a memorial to Officer Partin.

Shawnta Robertson, 20, of Cincinnati, the man who started the chase that Officer Partin was helping with when he fell off the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, was sentenced to 150 days in jail Friday for violating his probation on an unrelated Hamilton County charge.

It is unclear when he will be returned to Kenton County to face charges of resisting arrest, driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and running a red light. In court Friday, Mr. Robertson said he was sorry for Officer Partin's death but that it wasn't his fault.

''His family has my deepest sympathy,'' he said.

That's not enough for the Covington officers who want to see him held responsible for Officer Partin's death. Chief Bosse agreed. ''He's the one that started the whole thing,'' he said. ''Somebody lost their life.''

But if prosecutors cannot add more charges, ''People will be able to deal with that,'' he said. ''We have to live within the system.''

Friday's report

Police weary but determined

Thursday's report

Rain slows search for officer

Wednesday's report

Pro divers added to search

Tuesday's report

Officer's family grieves at river
Bridge gap has a purpose
Borgman cartoon
Police keep taking risks for our sake Karen Samples column

Monday's report

What happened(118k gif)
Search fails to find officer
Tristate police suffer another blow
Rookie looked, acted like vet