New Miami insurance drop takes police patrols off streets

NEW MIAMI, Ohio -- A drop of insurance in the Village of New Miami has ended police patrols around town.

Police Chief Kenneth Cheek said Thursday that the municipality was released from its insurance plan with the Ohio Government Risk Management, which prompted officials to avoid using vehicles owned by the village, including police cars and fire trucks, the Journal-News reported .

It's up to the village to seek their own insurance plan.

Which means Cheek is allowing no officer to come to work because a their cruisers have no coverage.

"I did not ground my officers," Cheek said. "I did send an email and have spoken to each and every one of my officers on the phone, but that was at the advice of my superiors."

New Miami's insurance was cut off due to excessive lawsuits and insurance claims.

One month ago, speed cameras brought controversy to New Miami drivers. After the village collected more than $1 million from the cameras, a Butler County Common Pleas Judge ordered their removal, the Journal-News said.

RELATED: Butler County judge orders New Miami to shut down speed cameras

Within the past year, Cheek was handed two lawsuits against the police department and the village, both had to do with physical violence among his family and with the treatment of suspects.

The lawsuits were settled out of court, at about $50,000.

The Journal-News said dispatch record show that a March 17 call marked the last response from village police officers.

The community has observed streets with no police working them.

Bob Lairson of Lairson Trucking said, "People were asking us about it and of course we don't know, either because everybody is being real closed mouth about it, we did notice there was a lack of police around here."

Cheek said he's looking into new insurance options.

WCPO reporter Jay Warren spoke to Cheek Friday.

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