LOVELAND, Ohio (FOX19) - We are learning new information about a Loveland police officer who recently arrested a Cincinnati police captain on a charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
Officer Jacob Salamon worked at the Ohio State Highway Patrol 2009 to 2016, when he resigned to join the Loveland Police Department.
When he left, he was under an internal investigation over accusations he lied about damage to his patrol car, and highway patrol officials said he shouldn’t be rehired, his personnel file shows.
“Trooper Jacob Salamon is resigning effective July 14, 2016 to seek employment with the Loveland Police Department. As a result of his employment with the Ohio State Highway Patrol it is not recommended that Trooper Salamon be considered for rehire if the opportunity becomes available,” reads a July 27, 2016 memo from Salamon’s commander, Captain P.E. Hermes, to Major R.S. Fambro.
“At the time of his resignation, Trooper Salamon was the subject of an administrative investigation involving conflicting statements he made when questioned about unreported damage to his assigned patrol car.”
Salamon was notified of the probe on June 29, 2016, about two weeks before he left, records show.
“Allegation: Trooper Salamon failed to report damage to his assigned patrol car and was dishonest when questioned about the damage.”
His "Answer: “Trooper Salamon acknowledged that he did not report the damage to his patrol car. He denied being untruthful, but stated he understood why someone would believe he was being untruthful because he changed his statement about reporting the damage.”
When asked to explain how he forgot he did not have a conversation about it with a supervisor, “he cited a lot of things going on in his life,” including the death of his grandmother, his personnel file shows.
Salamon’s work history and credibility will be a consideration in the criminal case against Captain Amanda Caton. Her lawyer, Steven Adams, has requested a jury trial.
Salamon said in the police body camera video during the early morning traffic stop on Feb. 9 that Caton’s speech was slurred, her eyes were blood shot and she smelled of alcohol. She refused to take a breathalyzer.
Her lawyer has called it a “bad stop and a bad arrest" and alleged Salamon was "trolling for a DUI stop.' There was no traffic violation, he has said, and if she appeared drunk in the video it’s because she has a British accent.
Adams has filed a motion asking for what he calls certain “self-serving heresay statements” to be removed from the video the jury will eventually see.
Caton’s police powers remain suspended pending the outcome of the case, Cincinnati officials have said.
“The state has the exclusive burden of proof to prove her guilt. I don’t believe they’re gonna do it because, frankly, when you look at that evidence, it’s weak," Adams said during an interview last month.
He also said Salamon jumped to conclusions by describing Caton’s speech as “slurred," her eyes as “bloodshot,” and her breath as smelling strongly of alcohol, the lawyer notes.
“Watch the video closely,” Adams said. “Listen to it. When I listen to the video, he’s stuttering and slurring much more than she ever did.”
When we reached him for comment Tuesday on the allegations against Salamon during the final weeks he was on the job at OSP, Adams responded:
“His personnel file speaks for itself. Those records demonstrate that they investigated him for not telling the truth.”
The internal investigation at OSP into Salamon began after one of his supervisors, Lt. Matthew Hamilton, noticed damage to the right rear bumper of Salamon’s patrol car at a patrol post, according to a June 2, 2016 email Hamilton wrote Hermes.
Hamilton contacted two sergeants who supervised Salamon and both responded they knew nothing about it, the email states. One of the sergeants sent Salamon a text message asking if he knew anything about it.
Salamon told the sergeant it happened at court a couple weeks ago and he had reported it to Lt. Kevin Long prior to him retiring.
But, Hamilton wrote in his email, “I contacted Kevin and he knew nothing about it."
Hamilton called Salamon and inquired about the damage.
Salamon, Hamilton wrote, was unable to provide a specific date it occurred so they could review potential surveillance footage in an attempt to identify the vehicle that struck him. Salamon also said it could have occurred anywhere.
“Salamon told me he told Lt. Long about it but didn’t make a big deal about it as he didn’t want to bother him before he retired. He said he told Lt. Long he would get with Sgt. Beccaccio about it," the email reads.
“A few minutes after hanging up with Salamon, he texted me and said ‘It was around the 17th I noticed it the damage. I did not talk to Lt. Long. I didn’t see him until the day he left. I forgot to show to (Beccaccio) after that."
Hamilton wrote in his email to the Hermes “I am bothered by the fact that Salamon told Sgt. Patrick that he reported the damage to Lt. Long. He was specific about the manner in which he notified him and what he was going to do but then recanted in his next text message. I’m also bothered by the fact that he never reported the damage to the supervisor at all.”
Salamon’s start date with Loveland Police Department was July 18, 2016, one day after his last official day with OSP. state records show.
He received good reviews from supervisors at the state patrol, mostly meeting and some exceeding standards.
The officer was commended for promoting a positive image internally and externally, making every effort to have positive interactions with internal and external customers and being polite, professional and always providing assistance to people in need.
He was particularly praised for OVI enforcement, amassing 100 OVI arrests in 2013, 117 in 2014 and 135 through most of 2015, his personnel record shows.
Salamon’s reviews repeatedly note OVI enforcement is his strength or an area he excels while supervisors encourage him to increase his criminal patrol involvement, calling that a “shortcoming”
In his review for 2015, he was noted for surpassing his criminal patrol involvement that year compared to the prior one.
“Trooper Salamon works night shift and continues to work aggressively to remove impaired drivers from Ohio’s roadways,” one review states, for 2014. "He is proficient in completing OVI paperwork and providing the necessary documents to the court/prosecutor.
"Trooper Salamon is a self-motivated and is dedicated to the Division. He takes pride in being a Trooper and represents the Division in a professional manner. He is proficient and is able to handle all aspects of his duties.
“He is encouraged to stay active and aggressive in OVI enforcement, but is encouraged to look for criminal activity and safety belts during traffic stops.”
His review in 2015 states: “He is encouraged to be more of a leader on his shift and help mentor younger troopers. He should be encouraged to expand his operations and become more well-rounded in other areas of his job.”
Loveland police have yet to release Salamon’s personnel file, more than a month after we requested it, so we have not been able to view his most current job reivews.
When we checked with Police Chief Sean Rahe and asked for it again last week, we received the following email in return:
“We were in the middle of this request when the COVID19 pandemic struck. The City of Loveland has declared a State of Emergency. Every LPD resource is now dedicated to keeping our community safe. I don’t have any timeline to give you on our response to this request other than to say it will not be until this pandemic is under control and the State of Emergency is lifted. Stay safe!”
We sought comment from the chief and Salamon about Salamon’s personnel file at OSP, the internal investigation, allegations of untruthfulness and recommendation he not be rehired.
We also asked the Chief Rahe if he was aware of that when Salamon began working on the job in Loveland in July 2016, shortly before he resigned.
The chief emailed us the following response on both his behalf and Salamon’s:
“Officer Salamon has been a great officer and has never given us cause to doubt his integrity. Part of his hiring process included a complete background investigation and discussion with his (then) current employer. We cannot comment on any discussions or positions taken by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. We suggest you contact them for clarification."
An OSP spokesman said the agency does not discuss former employees.
When we asked Chief Rahe again Tuesday for the Salamon’s Loveland personnel file, he responded that he would reach out again to the city solicitor and determine the status of our request.
In the meantime, we have contacted the Ohio State Attorney General’s Office to seek clarification into access of public records during the coronavirus pandemic.