UPDATE: 2/4/16: 4:15pm: UPDATE: 2/4/2016 – After much social media pressure, and what seems to be pressure from inside the City Council, Law Director Paul Bertram announced that Officer Hickey is allowed to buy K9 partner Ajax after all.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this a reality!
Here is the offical announcement: http://media.graytvinc.com/documents/Law+Director+Statement+-+Ajax.pdf
UPDATE – Officer Hickey DID NOT accept the condition that he work for free in order to keep Ajax. Yet again, the horrible officials led the public to believe that the situation was resolved.
Here is a link to the news story posted on 2/2/2016 at 6:15 PM Confirming That Hickey DID NOT ACCEPT and AJAX is STILL going to auction.
Officer Matt Hickey spent 30 years with the Marietta Ohio police department. He was a K9 handler and when his K9 partners retired, he was allowed to keep his previous dogs.
However, due to an injury that was slow to heal, Officer Hickey decided to finally retire. His K9 partner, Ajax, however is only 6 years old.
On January 29th, I ran across the news story that the city of Marietta had initially told Officer Hickey he could purchase Ajax for 1,000 (because he was considered equipment) (story here: http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2016/01/29/marietta-ohio-retired-marietta-officers-k9-set-to-be-auctioned-despite-offering-to-pay-city.html)
There are always 2 sides to the story. And I was curious as to the “city” side, but it seemed quite odd that the city was putting up such resistance and that the Law Director had compared Ajax to a shovel. “The dog is property of the city of Marietta,” Marietta Law Director Paul Bertram III said. “Because it is personal property, it is treated like a shovel. That’s just the way it is.”
Today, I watched the livestream of the news conference held by Police Chief Rodney Hupp.
I was flabbergasted. The police Chief pretty much accused Officer Hickey of being a liar.
Chief Hupp even bragged about how he came up with a solution at the last minute to allow K9 Ajax to stay with Officer Hickey – by making Officer Hickey become a volunteer for the police department!
Then, after Hickey FINALLY spoke up for himself (he has remained silent since the story first came out, neither confirming nor denying the stories) he pointed out that the Chief had told Hickey he could purchase Ajax for 3,500.
The Chief admitted to having an officer ready to take Ajax away from Hickey if he didn’t pay 3,500 for Ajax (you can hear him admit this in the clip above).
Then Hickey apologized and said “I’m sorry, but I didn’t say anything bad about the city. I just said the truth.”
It seemed painfully obvious to me that Hickey is being leaned on to remain silent, and that Ajax is the bargaining tool buying his silence. Chief Hupp made reference a few times to Hickey being allowed first amendment rights and “I’m not his father BUT” and then goes on to say how Hickey by BEING SILENT when media and animal lovers spoke up for Hickey and appealed to the city of Marietta to allow Hickey to keep Ajax, the Chief accused Hickey of being dishonest.
A relative of Hickey’s (in the news conference) said NO ONE contacted them after Chief Hupp came up with the idea that Hickey could have the dog as long as he became an auxiliary (volunteer) cop.
But the Chief STARTED the press conference declaring how he is sworn to uphold the law and he follows the rules – but if then contradicts himself by
A) Telling Hickey (which the Chief admits to in the video clip, that is the Chief in the back saying “That is correct.”) he could have Ajax for 3,500 but then going back on his word.
B) Then suggesting “at the last minute” of a council meeting that Hickey could have the dog AS LONG AS HE STAYS ON THE POLICE FORCE as a VOLUNTEER.
Someone close to the Hickey family started a GoFundMe to try and raise enough money so when the dog ‘went to auction’ so that a police officer or k9 handler could bid on him, Hickey would hopefully have enough money so that he would WIN THE BID on his own dog.
The law director Paul Bertram, seems only versed in reciting codes, comparing dogs to shovels (and baseball bats and bulldozers) and too “intelligent” to do the common sense thing, and that is allow the dog to remain with his partner.
They (Hupp, the mayor, and the law director) also had negative things to say about social media interfering with their plan to auction off a dog for money and deny a 30 year officer of the force his right to keep Ajax – people on social media “Hide” behind fake names – they have nothing “better to do.”
Really, I’m not hiding behind my name: Laura Freed.
And thank GOD for social media, because just like sunshine, it shines the spotlight on shadiness.
I hope that not only does Officer Hickey get to keep Ajax, but that he uses the money raised by Go Fund me (link below) to move far far way from the cold-hearted city of Marietta.
The Chief tried to use the tactics of attacking and blaming the victim . He opened the news conference by stating that the story of K9 Ajax is a “Perceived Injustice.”
They used the tactic of painting themselves as victims: The police Chief tries to reason away the reason why he (the Chief) didn’t communicate to Hickey after the council meeting by using sympathy (the Chief’s dog has cancer and the Chief’s wife was having surgery for her sinus (does the Chief know about HIPPA ?). So, no one else could contact Officer Hickey? They were so worried about the “bad light” shining on Marietta that they couldn’t reach out and assure him in writing that he would be allowed to keep Ajax?
Then the mayor finally speaks at the end, admits he drove past Hickey’s house on Friday, and apologizes for not speaking to him (to get his side) because he had to hear what the law director and the council had to say (but not Hickey?). And then goes on to say he is worried about Marietta’s reputation.
Link to the full news conference: http://www.thenewscenter.tv/content/news/Marietta-Police-k-9-to-be-auctioned-upon-handlers-retirement-367031591.html
Offical Go Fund Me: https://www.gofundme.com/yumeagsk
Facebook page to support Officer Hickey and K9 Ajax https://www.facebook.com/Support-Officer-M-Hickey-and-K-9-Ajax-1543191292663868/
Email/Call (both) to make your voice heard:
Chief of Police Rodney Hupp,
Law Director: Paul Bertram III
Paul G. Bertram, III 259 Butler Street Suite 200. Marietta, OH 45750 PHONE (740) 373-4171
FAX (740) 376-2013
Mayor Joe Matthews, Mayor740-373-1387
President of Council
Josh Schlicher JoshSchlicher@mariettaoh.net 740-350-1337
Roger Kalter RogerKalter@mariettaoh.net 740-373-1784
Mike McCauley MikeMcCauley@mariettaoh.net 740-374-5155
Steve Thomas SteveThomas@mariettaoh.net 740-516-4153
Tom Vukovic TomVukovic@mariettaoh.net 740-373-2047
Cindy Oxender CindyOxender@mariettaoh.net 740-373-7323
Kathy Downer KathyDowner@mariettaoh.net 740-373-7422
Sarah Snow SarahSnow@mariettaoh.net 740-373-1387
Clerk of Council
Nancy Johnson NancyJohnson@mariettaoh.net 740-374-5501