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Published: Wednesday, 5/9/2001

Fostoria chief on leave pending investigation

FOSTORIA - Longtime police Chief Dennis Day has been placed on paid administrative leave while the Seneca County sheriff's office investigates allegations that he had a confrontation with his estranged wife.

Chief Day, who has headed Fostoria's 28-member police force since 1991, was put on leave Friday, Ralph Wise, the city's safety-service director, said yesterday.

Mr. Wise declined to discuss the allegations against Chief Day. “I can't get into it,” he said. “It's under investigation.”

Seneca County Sheriff Tom Steyer said Mr. Wise asked him to investigate allegations involving Chief Day and his wife, Penny.

“There are some allegations of inappropriate actions on his part,” Sheriff Steyer said. “We're looking into that now. We will talk to witnesses, including Mrs. Day and Chief Day.”

Sheriff Steyer said the results of the department's inquiry will be turned over to a special prosecutor, Matt Reger of Bowling Green.

Any charges filed would be misdemeanors, the sheriff said.

Mrs. Day has filed a civil protection order against Chief Day in Seneca County Common Pleas Court. According to a police report, the chief confronted his wife last month at a Dairy Mart on Lytle Street in Fostoria.

Mary Beth Droll, owner of the convenience store, said she filed a report on the incident at the request of Mrs. Day, a regular customer.

“All she did was come to me and ask me to back her up,” Ms. Droll said. “I really don't want to be in the middle. I just stated what went on. ... It's between those two. They're getting a divorce - it got messy.”

Mrs. Day could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Contacted at home, Chief Day declined to discuss the allegations against him.

“I'm not going to talk to you or anyone else right now,” he said. “You just woke me up. I'm taking a nap.''

Mayor John Davoli said he's leaving the matter in Mr. Wise's hands. “We hope and pray for the best for the chief and his family and hope to bring this to a quick resolution,” he said.

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