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Published: Friday, 10/24/2003

Genoa police chief takes sudden leave

GENOA - Police Chief Michael Graalman is off duty pending a hearing Monday on a civil protection order granted to his estranged wife, who has accused him of harassing her.

Chief Graalman, 44, began taking sick leave Monday, when the village learned of the protection order, Mayor Joseph Verkin said yesterday. He has been on vacation since Wednesday, the mayor said.

“We got the protection order on Monday morning, and he was not in uniform anymore,” Mr. Verkin said.

Chief Graalman's wife, Kimberly, filed a request for the protection order Oct. 17 in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court. In her request, Mrs. Graalman, 37, said her husband has made harassing phone calls and threatened her life, telling her “to sleep with one eye open.”

She wrote that Chief Graalman “has come into my house while I'm asleep, standing over the bed ... calling me at all hours of the night. I am in fear he will do something to me or my kids.”

The protection order, granted by Judge Paul Moon, instructs Chief Graalman to surrender all weapons and bars him from contacting his wife or her two children.

Chief Graalman, who lives in Wood County, could not be reached for comment.

In his absence, Sgt. Chad Milner is in charge of the Genoa police force, which includes four full-time officers, not including the chief, Mr. Verkin said.

The mayor said Chief Graalman has led the department for 31/2 years and described his job performance as “excellent.”

Mr. Verkin said he wanted to see the chief's response to Mrs. Graalman's allegations before taking further action. He said the chief is not suspended from his job.

“So many people are jumping to conclusions, that the poor guy's guilty,” he said. “Until I get more information, the other side of the story, it's ludicrous to make any comment.”

A hearing on the protection order is scheduled for Monday morning before Judge Moon.



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