The Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio)
BYLINE: Jennifer Baker
FELICITY - A veteran police captain facing up to five years in prison if he's found guilty of a drug-related charge of tampering with evidence was released from the Clermont County jail on $100,000 professional bond Friday.
Delmas Gee Pack, 42, was effectively stripped of his police powers when he appeared earlier in Clermont County Municipal Court.
Judge James R. Shriver prohibited the 16-year law enforcement official from possessing any weapons while the criminal case is pending.
Pack is scheduled to return to Clermont Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing Aug. 5. At that time, more details of what he is accused of doing might be released.
So far, authorities have been mum on why Pack was arrested at the Felicity police station Thursday and charged with misdemeanor tampering with evidence in a multi-agency investigation.
Clermont County Sheriff A. J. "Tim" Rodenberg and Cmdr. John Burke of the Warren County Drug Task Force referred questions Friday to the Clermont County Prosecutor's Office. Prosecutor Don White and Assistant Prosecutor Woody Breyer did not return multiple calls.
Pack also did not respond to a message for comment left at his New Richmond home.
Several of his relatives attended his arraignment but declined to talk with reporters.
Pack appeared handcuffed and wearing an orange jail uniform as he faced the judge. He expressed surprise when his bond was set so high.
Felicity Police Chief Ray Hesler attended the brief hearing and spoke privately with Pack's family afterward.
In an interview at the Felicity police station later, he noted that some accused murders in Clermont County aren't given such high bonds.
"It just blows my mind," he said.
The dismayed chief said he was shocked when several investigators arrived to take Pack into custody Thursday.
His arrest came after an investigation by the Clermont County Narcotics Unit, which is overseen by the sheriff, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, the county prosecutor's office and the Warren County Drug Task Force.
The sheriff's office has received several complaints in past years regarding the confiscation of contraband drugs that were not turned over to the property room, authorities have said.
Pack, Hesler said, is accused of taking evidence, but Hesler refused to elaborate on what kind.
"They set him up in a sting operation," the chief said. "They are saying he took some evidence. There is a lot I think about it, but I just can't say it. It will cause me a lot of trouble."
It is likely that Pack, who works about 30 hours a week at the police department earning $12 an hour, will be placed on unpaid leave, Hesler said. The chief expects to discuss that with the Felicity City Council at its next meeting Thursday.
Felicity's mayor did not return a call for comment Friday.
Hesler is the only full-time sworn officer on the department that patrols the tiny village of 932 people covering 0.3 square miles along Ohio 133. There are 11 part-time officers.
The chief said he thinks Pack is the victim of complaints because he comes down hard on offenders.
"I have known this guy since he was knee-high," Hesler said of Pack. "He is an aggressive officer and a lot of people hate him because he is."
Just last week, the chief said, Pack was responsible for capturing two armed men who barged into a Washington Township home and stole cash, cell phones and several bags of marijuana.
Pack stopped the suspects' vehicle and found the drugs and clothing identical to what was worn during the home invasion.
"They would not have caught the guys otherwise, I can guarantee it," Hesler said. "He saw them coming over the guardrail."
Reaction to Pack's arrest was mixed Friday among residents out and about in downtown Felicity during lunchtime.
"I bet there's a lot of people surprised," said Linda Tess, 38. "He didn't seem to be a cop to me. You could talk to him.
The only thing I didn't like was he didn't like anyone standing in the street talking. He'd run you off."
Jamie Clark said he won't believe the allegations against Pack until they are proven in court.
"I think he's a pretty good guy. He's one of the friendliest cops here," said Clark, 41.
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