‘Recycled Cops’ Move From Department to Department Despite Discipline Issues

Jacob Goodwin

ELMWOOD PLACE, Ohio – Jacob Goodwin began working as police officer in Newtown in 2010, only to resign in 2011 when told several disciplinary actions would soon result in his termination.

Yet he went on to work for the Aberdeen Police Department, then landed in Elmwood Place, where he received several more complaints. One of those involved an incident in 2016 in which he was accused of “going in and out of consciousness” at the Elmwood police station while on the job, according to police disciplinary records the 9 On Your Side I-Team reviewed.

That incident led to Goodwin’s termination from the department and appears to have ended his career in law enforcement. But Goodwin is not the only example of a police officer who resigned in the face of disciplinary action or was fired only to get hired by another local law enforcement agency.

The I-Team reviewed thousands of disciplinary records from 40 police departments in the Tri-State. The I-Team’s investigation found police departments in Elmwood Place and in some other small communities have a history of hiring disgraced cops that other departments have fired. About a dozen police officers have found new jobs as police officers after resigning or being fired due to disciplinary action locally in the past three years.

The I-Team also found that sometimes departments fail to do basic background checks that would quickly expose reasons to not hire officers who have run into trouble elsewhere.

Law enforcement experts told the I-Team this system of neglect makes it easier for police officers accused of repeated wrongdoing to remain in law enforcement.

Goodwin had worked as a part-time officer in Newtown starting in 2010. However, supervisors wrote that Goodwin “established a pattern of poor decision making ability.” After just a few months on the job, Goodwin brought police equipment while working a security detail that was not arranged through the department and during which he was not supposed to be identified as a police officer. He was later written up for working overtime without permission.

Then, in February of 2011, a Pinehurst Drive resident complained after she woke up and found Goodwin inside her home in the middle of the night after she left a garage door open. Goodwin’s supervisor wrote he “placed his life and residents life in unnecessary danger, and had no legal right to enter the residence.”

“Even though Officer Goodwin had good intentions, being a police officer requires having good decision making skills … and we are under the opinion that further training would not improve Officer Goodwin’s decision making skills,” police records state. “It is our recommendation that Officer Goodwin’s employment be terminated with the Village of Newtown.”

Goodwin was given the opportunity to resign before he was fired. He did.

The Aberdeen Police Department then hired Goodwin, but he resigned from that position in 2012. The I-Team wasn’t able to determine why he resigned.

In January 2014, he started at Elmwood Place Police Department, where he continued to receive complaints.

In 2015, Officer Todd Armstrong complained about the way Goodwin and Officer Justin Habig handled an incident with a mentally ill man who made threats against himself and others. The pair said they would charge the man with “anything to lock his ass up,” before a Cincinnati officer stepped in and took the man for a mental health evaluation, Armstrong wrote.

For full story visit: http://www.wcpo.com/longform/i-team-recycled-cops-move-from-department-to-department-despite-discipline-issues