Officer who ran over homeless woman "liked by everyone"

By Regina Russo bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Police Department has released the personnel file for the officer who ran over a homeless woman in Washington Park.

Officer Marty Polk was on routine patrol Tuesday in Washington Park when he ran over Joann Burton, killing her.

There was only one blemish in Polk's record - a traffic accident where he was found negligent back in 1990. Other than that, you'll find a professional history that repeatedly was characterized as outstanding.

Polk was so familiar with the neighborhood in Washington Park that people gave him the nickname "Hawkeye." This nickname was also due to the binoculars Polk kept with him.

Phyllis Matthews, a volunteer for The Lord's Pantry down the street from Washington Park, says Officer Polk always watched diligently over the park with his binoculars.

Polk was known to give out warnings instead of arrests, which is why Julie Horn of the parks division calls him, "A mainstay for many special events, and an ambassador for the police and park board."

Officer Marty Polk a 1976 graduate of Lockland High School spent his entire 29 years in the parks division. His personnel file reveals commendations from the Chief of Police calling him "outstanding," and three commendations from the President of the Cincinnati Parks Division, Willie Carden. One just last month called him an "ambassador to our park visitors."

Julie Horn says Polk was liked by everyone.

"They treat citizens as customers hey not the way you act in the park, people appreciate that kind of respect," said Horn.

Officer Polk is on paid administrative leave. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is waiting for autopsy results on Burton so they can finish their investigation.

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