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Audit declares Sheriff's Dept. 'static' and 'resistant to change'

An audit of the Hamilton County Sheriff's department is recommending three issues be addressed. They include: staffing, technology and training.

The report concludes department staff are highly disciplined and resilient but also static and resistant to change. It says the agency, under former Sheriff Simon Leis, became "frozen in time" which prevents it from adopting more modern procedures and practices.

It also dings the department for failing to identify, train and promote "up and coming leaders to positions of increased authority" resulting in a loss of talent. That leads to staffing concerns including the conclusion the department is one serious confrontation away from catastrophe due to understaffed correctional facilities.

Other issues include Leis and Deputy Sean Donovan's refusal to use modern technology such as email, duplication of paperwork already compiled by other county agencies, and using paper or other non-automated workflows to file reports or search databases.

Sheriff Jim Neil requested the audit when he took office in January. It was completed by former Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher and former ACLU attorney Scott Greenwood.

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.