Covington code enforcement officer resigns, citing safety concerns

COVINGTON, Ky. – A part-time Covington employee resigned his position as a code enforcement officer last week, because he feared for his own safety.

Wayne Berry’s job put him in harm’s way, he said. He was in charge of getting people to clean up their property, which can be costly to property owners, opening the door for danger.

"Over six months time we brought this building back to life to be the show piece of Old Seminary Square," Berry said. "Had I not been the inspector and pushed for this, this building would still be a dilapidated piece of property in Covington."

Cleaning and repairing Covington came with some risks. Berry once had a close call at 13th and Wheeler streets.

"I came to that corner and I got stopped in traffic and one of them came over to the window of the car and said 'you better get out of here because you're about to get killed.'" Berry said.

Berry said although his life was threatened three times and he was chased down by a violator after taking photos of a property, he is not permitted to carry a gun. He is a retired sheriff's deputy and has a concealed carry permit, but he said the City of Covington refused to take on the liability in case of an incident. He quit his job at a city commission meeting.

In recent months, the city also took away an older Crown Victoria cruiser Berry was comfortable driving, saying it cost more to maintain than newer car models. A radio Berry requested, stating it was a lifeline for him on the job, was never installed in his vehicle either.

Berry's boss, Mike Yaeger, said losing Berry is a loss for the city.

"He had a lot of cases," Yaeger said. "He did great work."

Berry said Covington residents have given him tremendous support.

"He did wonderful things for my neighborhood," Mike Brosmore said.

WCPO's Julie O'Neill spoke with Covington's City Solicitor, Frank Warnock. He said he would be in favor of a policy that would allow certain employees to carry guns, if the employees carry their own insurance policy.

Berry said the insurance costs too much money, and he feels the city should add any officer in charge of enforcing laws to its coverage.

 

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