An Ohio police chief has been suspended without pay from his $32,000-a-year job, and faces 12 criminal charges — five of them felonies — after authorities say he harbored and continued to date a woman being sought on drug charges, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Glouster police chief Lucas Mace is accused of failing to arrest Hillary Hooper, 23, at the scene of a traffic accident despite the fact that there were two warrants outstanding for her; one for probation violations and the another on drug charges. Mace failed to cite her for the accident, letting her go, telling her he would use her as an undercover informant.
According to Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn, Mace took Hooper to dinner, slept with her at his home, and lied to authorities about her whereabouts as he helped her elude them.
Blackburn said recorded radio traffic shows Mace knew there were warrants out for Hooper.
Calling Mace’s actions a “shameful pattern of wrongdoing,” Blackburn said, “He was basically using his office as a dating service.”
Blackburn also stated that Mace hid from the mayor during work hours and — while in uniform — went to help Hooper change a car tire while authorities were still searching for her.
The prosecutor added that the police chief had previously been accused of dating women “inappropriate to his public position.”
Investigators are also looking into whether he may have harbored other fugitives.
Mace faces three felony counts of obstruction of justice, one for theft in office, and one of possession of criminal tools.
The Athens County grand jury also indicted him on seven misdemeanor charges: six counts of dereliction of duty and one for failure to aid a law-enforcement officer.
Mace, who was released on bail, has been police chief for the village of Gloucester since 2012.