Friday, October 17, 2003

Constable charged with misconduct

Kenton official accused of stopping car illegally

By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BURLINGTON - A Kenton County constable has been charged with misconduct for trying to pull over a motorist inside Boone County - outside of his jurisdiction.

Ronald Ferrier, 60, elected constable in 2002, was driving south on Interstate 75 when he tried to pull over a car near the Turfway Road exit Aug. 23, said Boone County Sheriff's Maj. Jack Banks.

Ferrier, of Erlanger, used blue lights on his personal car, a violation of state law, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.

"Defendant has no jurisdiction in Boone County nor has he legal right to have emergency lights installed in his personal vehicle," the complaint states.

County constables are allowed to have blue lights only if granted permission by the county's fiscal court.

Ferrier did not have that permission, said Scott Kimmich, Kenton County's deputy judge-executive.

The complaint charges Ferrier with second-degree official misconduct, a misdemeanor, and violating the state law about blue lights.

He is scheduled to appear in Boone County District Court Oct. 23.

A constable is a constitutionally elected official and at one time served as the county's law enforcement officer.

Though the office has been stripped of most of its power, the General Assembly has not abolished it.

State law says constables are peace officers who have arrest powers within their own county.

Ferrier plans to plead not guilty to the charges, said his attorney Burr Travis.

Ferrier saw a car driving erratically as he was getting on the interstate from Donaldson Road, so he pulled the car over, Travis said.

Travis said Ferrier started following the car in Kenton County and crossed into Boone County.

State law says that a peace officer in pursuit may continue the pursuit into another jurisdiction to make an arrest.

"When he realized there was no issue, he let the guy go," Travis said.

"He thought he was doing the right thing."

The man Ferrier is accused of pulling over is an Elsmere police officer, Travis said.

As for the blue lights on Ferrier's car, Travis said he could not yet comment on that allegation.

Ferrier has never asked the Fiscal Court for permission to put blue lights on his car, said Kimmich.

But about two years ago, another constable wanted blue lights.

"To allow the use of blue lights could be a potential liability for the county because (constables) are not fully trained in law enforcement," Kimmich said.

The county agreed to let that constable use a green light on his car.


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