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Published: Friday, 7/18/2003

Deputy suspended for burning rubber

NORWALK, Ohio - Huron County Sheriff Richard Sutherland said his deputies often are hired to provide security for community events.

But after a pig roast last weekend by a local motorcycle club led to the temporary suspension of one of his deputies, the sheriff said the office likely will not supply security for that group again.

The sheriff suspended Robert Skillicorn, a corrections officers for the office since 1997, after he learned that the deputy caused damage to a patrol cruiser.

While working at the Huron River H.O.G. Club's pig roast Saturday, Deputy Skillicorn apparently wore one of his car's tires down by spinning or “burning” it.

The deputy's 30-day suspension began Tuesday and he was ordered to pay $76.68 to replace the cruiser's tire.

“I talked to the deputy involved, and he came to my house and apologized,” Sheriff Sutherland said. “Their main purpose was security. They were at the entrance.”

The sheriff added that three deputies were hired that day. Each wore a department-issued uniform and drove a police cruiser.

It was the damage to the county's cruiser that led to Deputy Skillicorn's suspension, the sheriff said, and not the allegations that he was with a woman who flashed her breasts to the crowd while in the patrol vehicle.

Sheriff Sutherland said the deputy was not reprimanded for the incident because offering a ride to someone on a hot day is not against departmental policies.

“We are constantly helping the public do something. That's our job,” he said. “Whatever transpired at the event ... was totally out of our control.”

Deputy Skillicorn could not be reached for comment.

Tom Leto, activities director for the H.O.G. Club, said the pig roast is held annually as a fund-raiser for the group.

Made up of motorcyclists from throughout the region, the club uses the proceeds from the event to buy toys for the Salvation Army during the holidays.

Sheriff's deputies are hired to be at the event as a precaution, he said, adding that while one or two women may have flashed the crowds, it is not a normal occurrence.

“It's not a prevalent thing that happens. Every once in a while somebody may get a little exuberant. Who knows?” he said. “If and when it does happen, it's just a spontaneous thing when somebody gets excited.”

Mr. Leto said the club likely will continue with its annual event. He added that the deputy's behavior leading to his suspension was not a problem caused by the club.

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