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home : local news : local news
October 20, 2018

1/19/2018 3:09:00 PM
'Connie's Cops: Episode Two' aired at Wellston Council meeting
Kyle Gilliland returns with additional complaints about WPD
Local attorney Kyle Gilliland (pictured) was present for his second straight Wellston City Council meeting Thursday night, Jan. 18. Just like his first visit earlier this month, Gilliland was present to air complaints regarding the Wellston Police Department. He is also expected to address council once again at the next meeting on Feb. 1. (Telegram Photo By Phillip Buffington)

Local attorney Kyle Gilliland (pictured) was present for his second straight Wellston City Council meeting Thursday night, Jan. 18. Just like his first visit earlier this month, Gilliland was present to air complaints regarding the Wellston Police Department. He is also expected to address council once again at the next meeting on Feb. 1. (Telegram Photo By Phillip Buffington)

Associate Editor

For the second Wellston City Council meeting in a row, local attorney Kyle Gilliland has utilized his time at the podium during the public-comments portion to express his discontent with the Wellston Police Department (WPD).

Gilliland first visited the Jan. 4 meeting, addressing an incident which took place in July 2017 involving a home break-in and the subsequent altercation with a member of the WPD.

Upon learning of the break-in from his wife on the morning of July 8, Gilliland said he went to the home -- which was unoccupied and that of his father, Roy Gilliland -- and encountered WPD officer Sonya Jones. Gilliland explained he has "had quite a few problems with the WPD over the years," and that he expressed these concerns with Officer Jones that morning. Following the exchange, Gilliland said the two "agreed to part company" and Officer Jones left the scene.

Gilliland's wife then contacted the Jackson County Sheriff's Office for assistance with the break-in. He described the difference between the two law enforcement agencies as "night and day."

In short, Gilliland said he found approximately four weeks after the altercation that he was party to a grievance with the Ohio Supreme Court's Disciplinary Council. The grievance, he said, had been filed by Officer Jones, who claimed Gilliland had made "disparaging comments" about the WPD, which Gilliland said was true.

Once all was said and done, Gilliland said the grievance was dismissed. In response to the grievance, Gilliland asked for an investigation to be brought upon Officer Jones, then WPD Chief Tim Ackley, Service Director Bill Shumate, and Mayor Connie Pelletier. Gilliland also asked that the WPD be disbanded entirely.

During his opening remarks at the Thursday night, Jan. 18 meeting, Gilliland stated he was again present to speak about the WPD.

"I characterize this as 'Episode Two' of my series, 'Connie's Cops'," he said, referring to Mayor Pelletier.

Gilliland then mentioned the 1.5-mill police levy for the WPD which was voted upon in last November's general election, and which failed by - as Gilliland later stated - a vote of 43 percent in favor of the levy and 57 percent against. Further, he pointed out that similar levies were passed at various places in the state including: Amesville (Athens County) 2-mill levy, passed 84 percent to 16 percent; Clay Township (Scioto County) 3.6-mill levy, passed 52 percent to 48 percent; and what Gilliland described as "the real killer," Hamden Village (Vinton County) 5-mill levy, passed 67 percent to 33 percent.

As to why the WPD levy failed, Gilliland said it came down to three reasons: 1. the levy was not campaigned for properly, 2. He said Wellston is "an anti-tax town," and 3. "The voters know what the police department is like," Gilliland said.

Next, Gilliland gave council a breakdown of a recent incident between WPD representatives and his friend Robert "Bob" Bennett. The problem, Gilliland said, was that Bennett recently reported a diesel truck parked running outside of his bedroom window for 15 hours. He said Bennett had planned on attending the meeting himself, but is currently suffering from the flu.

Regarding this situation, Gilliland said Bennett contacted the Wellston City Building to speak with Mayor Pelletier, though she was in a meeting at that time. Eventually, he said Bennett spoke with acting WPD Chief John Robinson in an attempt to see if there was a city ordinance regarding such a matter. Gilliland then referred to Chief Robinson's response as "the pathetic part of the story," with Robinson's response being he would have to research the issue.

Gilliland also provided copies of screenshots from a cell phone which depict a Facebook conversation between Mayor Pelletier and Bennett. At one point in the conversation, Gilliland said a person by the name of Billy Joe DeLong interjected that the aforementioned truck's owner "must be related to someone who works for the city or it would have been taken care of quickly." Further, Gilliland said Bennett was "chastised" for airing a complaint on the city's Facebook page.

With regard to the comment from DeLong, Gilliland stated, "This is the perception folks in Wellston have."

As for the diesel truck that allegedly sat running idly for 15 hours outside of Bennett's home, Gilliland said the answer to Bennett's question posed to Chief Robinson, is that the correct ordinance already in place, which is based on state statute, is that of disorderly conduct.

"No person shall recklessly cause annoyance by making unreasonable noise," Gilliland said, indicating this was just one example of the extent of that particular violation. "I sure think a diesel truck running outside your bedroom window for 15 hours comes pretty close to it."

As his time ran out, Gilliland told council members he would be seeing them again in two weeks.

Near the end of Thursday's meeting, Chief Robinson told council that if they wished to learn more about the phone call between himself and Bennett, they should feel free to ask him. Moreover, Mayor Pelletier stated she does not conduct city-related business on Facebook. She advised anyone with a complaint to come to the City Building and file an official report.

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Article comment by: Billy DeLong

One other comment for Mr.. Gilliland. You should have checked before you quoted me as how the perception of the folks of Wellston are to make sure I lived in Wellston, which I don't. I don't even live in Jackson County.

Posted: Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Article comment by: Billy DeLong

My comment on Mr. Bennent's post was intended to be for Mr. Bennent, not for public use by Mr. Gilliland. I do NOT agree with Mr. Gilliland's rant about the Police department nor the Mayor.

Posted: Friday, January 19, 2018
Article comment by: Vicki Wildermuth Coy

I had a promblem years ago living in a apt when things took place I reported it the neighbors got by with it then one my purse got stolen with all my belonging and money hard earned money I reported this it was to be looked into and they would get back to me it was not also there were other issues

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