Tipp Police sergeant on paid leave amid investigation


TIPP CITY — A Tipp City Police Department sergeant has been placed on paid administrative leave for his alleged involvement in disseminating information from a Piqua Police investigation involving Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak’s wife Sheri Duchak’s OVI arrest in August 2018.

According to a public records request by the Miami Valley Today, Sgt. Marc Basye was placed on paid administration leave Thursday, Jan. 30.

Basye was notified by Chief Eric Burris of the action on Thursday afternoon.

“Following an initial review of materials provided by Ohio BCI regarding your alleged involvement in disseminating protected information from a Piqua P.D. investigation, I believe there is sufficient evidence to support a thorough administrative investigation into the matter,” Burris states in the letter.

The letter also states Basye will remain on paid leave until the “inquiry is complete and it’s decided whether there will be any disciplinary action taken against you.”

The letter also states Basye is to not have any contact with any other Tipp City Police Department employees during the leave. He also turned over his badges, keys and duty weapon until the conclusion of the process, and he is not to access any restricted areas of the department unless he or Deputy Chief Greg Adkins orders him to report.

According to an Ohio Attorney General Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) report, Basye was found to have taken a picture of Sheri Duchak’s traffic stop by the Piqua Police Department on Aug. 8, 2018. Basye accessed the information on Aug. 10, 2018, and sent the picture to Paul Reece, a Republican candidate for Miami County Sheriff running against incumbent Sheriff Dave Duchak. At the time Basye accessed records, Sheri Duchak had not been formally charged in the case. She was later charged on Aug. 28. A Facebook post with the information appeared on “Local Government Fact Check” (LGFC) to which investigators found Reece, Robert Peters, a known friend of Reece, and former Miami County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Doug Byers, had administrative access.

Basye’s attorney Jeffrey Slyman responded on Basye’s behalf on Friday afternoon.

“Tim Sell, a very competent, professional and experienced prosecutor and trial attorney presented the allegations against Sergeant Basye to a grand jury. The grand jury rejected any criminal charges. That speaks volumes. Although Sergeant Basye is very disappointed that this measure has belatedly been taken by the Chief, he will continue to cooperate as he has done in the past and is confident that as with the grand jury, a fair and impartial tribunal will determine his conduct undeserving of any further disciplinary action. He also wishes to dispel any rumors that his action is promulgated by vindictiveness propitiated by the failure to obtain criminal charges.”

Reece answered his phone in response to his involvement of the BCI investigation on Friday.

“I can appreciate what they are trying to do up there, but Marc Basye has been my friend for 26 years, he’s a decorated cop, he’s well respected. It’s a shame what they are trying to do to him, and I’m just going to leave it at that,” Reece said.

When asked about his ties with the Facebook page on which the screen shot appeared, Reece said, “You know what, here’s how we are going to do this. We are going to let Marc’s attorneys handle it because you are clearly being fed a lot of bad information and it’s political.”

Reece then said, “When it’s all this is over with, I’m sure there’s going to be a flurry of civil litigation out of it.”

Basye has been a police officer with Tipp City since 2001. Basye was promoted to the rank of sergeant in March 2012. As of April 2019, Basye earned $40.39 an hour.

According to a public records request, Ohio BCI Investigator Special Agent Tiffany Najmulski presented the office’s investigation report to Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell on Oct. 15, 2019. On Friday, Kendell said when his office received the investigation, he sent it to special prosecutor Shelby County Prosecutor Tim Sell. Sell presented the information during a grand jury session on Jan. 23, 2020. The grand jury failed to indict Basye on unauthorized use of law enforcement automated database system, a felony of the fifth-degree.

On Friday, Sheriff Duchak said, “I read a synopsis of the investigation report when it was released. It’s sad for the law enforcement community that an officer would initiate a confidential document for political and personal gain.”

Marc Basye alleged to have taken screen shot of protected information

By Melanie Yingst

Miami Valley Today

A time line of the investigation

• On Aug. 28, 2018, since retired, the Piqua Police Department’s Chief Bruce Jamison, made a report regarding a screen shot of Sheri Duchak’s traffic stop on Aug. 8, on a Facebook page “Local Goverment (sic) Fact Press.” Sheri Duchak was not formally charged until Aug. 28. The reason for the investigation was that Jamison found it to be “a serious breach of our protected information and a violation of Ohio Public Records” laws. Jamison later consulted with then city of Piqua Prosecutor Stacy Wall to find probable cause to believe there had been a violation of law and a violation of Ohio Administrative Code and department policy.

• Jamison noted 33 separate individuals accessed the screen, with some in their scope of duty and others had no clear reason to look.

• A search warrant was requested and signed by Magistrate Gary Zuhl, acting court judge, on Sept. 5, 2018, to access metadata of the screen shot photo on the LGFP page.

• Piqua Police Detective Phil Crusey obtained IP addresses from a Facebook subpoena on Feb. 14, 2019. One of the two IP addresses tied to Robert Peters who went under the alias “Brock Richert.” The other IP address was not able to be identified. Jamison made contact with Peters on the phone on March 5, 2019, to which Peters denied knowledge of the page or the post under investigation. Jamison contacted Peters on the same phone to which the IP address was used to make the post.

• On March 6, 2019, Jamison received a voicemail from former deputy Doug Byers. Jamison and Byers spoke on March 19, 2019, during which Byers said he knew about the Facebook page and the image being investigated. Byers said he met Peters through the last sheriff’s campaign. Byers said he had access to the page to review posts for Peters. Byers said he didn’t think Peters knows who posted the image. Byers said he no longer has access to the page.

• On April 11, 2019, Jamison met with BCI agent Najmulski regarding regarding the investigation.

• Jamison then requested BCI to assist in the investigation of misuse of county-wide records management system.

• Jamison noted the photo was taken by someone outside of the Piqua Police Department as its screen display settings are unique to each department. A list of people who accessed the record was provided, and Basye was named as someone who was tied to Paul Reece. Reece was one of four candidates to run for Miami County Sheriff in 2016 and is currently running against incumbent Sheriff Dave Duchak in the March 17, 2020, Primary Election.

• Basye had accessed the record on Aug. 10 at 9:27 p.m. — two days after Sheri Duchak was arrested. At that time, Sheri Duchak had not been formerly charged by prosecutors, and her case was filed on Aug. 28, 2018.

• On June 11, 2019, Ohio BCI agents met with Peters in Fairfield, Ohio. Peters told agents the Facebook page “Local Government Fact Press” was shared between three people: himself, former Miami County Sheriff’s Deputy Doug Byers and Reece. Byers was fired for an OVI charge in October 2012. Peters told them he was a commissioned sheriff’s deputy in Morgan County, Ohio.

• Peters told agents he received a call from Reece about the incident and then texted the picture of the Spillman record to him, but Reece wouldn’t say where the picture came from. Peters said Reece texted him and asked him to post it to the Facebook page, which Peters did later. The screen shot of the records accessed by Basye was posted on the LGFP page on Aug. 20, 2018.

• Peters told agents he was never offered a position with the MCSO if Reece won; however, he told Reece he would not mind working for him if he was elected sheriff.

• Cell phone records obtained by subpoenas for Reece and Basye’s personal and work phone number.

• Basye had been off work on Aug. 8-9, 2018, and returned to work on Aug. 10. He texted Reece around 9:30 p.m. and had accessed Duchak’s record at 9:27 p.m. Phone records also show Reece and Basye communicated the day of Sheri Duchak’s DUI and on Aug. 10 Reece and Byers also were in contact with one another records show.

• Basye was interviewed by agents on Oct. 7, 2019. Basye said “he did not recall the conversation or taking a snapshot of Sheri’s record.” The agent asked if Reece reached out to him because Basye was on Reece’s campaign and he was the only one who had access to the record. Basye acknowledged he was on Reece’s campaign and told agents he works midnights and is 53 years old and does not remember sending it. Basye later said, “If it was sent, then it was sent as a joke.”

• Agents wanted to know the motivation behind the picture to which Basye said, for him, it was more “this happened, joke wise.” “Bayse said, “I can tell you this … unequivocally, it wasn’t to destroy anybody. I like Sheriff Duchak. I like Sheri. But it is the world we live in.” Later in the interview, Basye said he didn’t know what Reece was going to do with the picture.

• Reece was also interviewed by BCI agents on Oct. 7, 2019, at his home in Piqua. During the interview, Reece avoided answering agents’ questions regarding why Basye would have sent the screen shot to Reece. Reece said he did not know why Basye would do that and wanted to know what Basye had told agents. “(Special Agent) Hamberg told Reece he could have a problem with having information that was not public knowledge. Reece argued that the information was public. Hamberg said not at that point, it was not, until someone had been properly charged and go through the proper procedure.” Reece then told agents to contact his attorney Jose Lopez and submit questions to him. Reece later said the agents wanted information to give to (Retired Piqua Police Chief Bruce Jamison), Sheriff Duchak and Prosecutor Tony Kendell. Hamberg told him for whatever reason Reece did not want to give information out on why he wanted the screen shot. Reece said it did not have anything to do with politics. He said he felt really bad for Sheri and Dave, according to the report.

• According to a public records request, Ohio BCI Investigator Special Agent Tiffany Najmulski presented the office’s investigation report to Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell on Oct. 15, 2019. Shelby County Prosecutor Tim Sell presented the information during a grand jury session on Jan. 23, 2020. The grand jury failed to indict Basye on unauthorized use of law enforcement automated database system, a felony of the fifth-degree.

Reach Melanie Yingst at [email protected]. © 2020 Miami Valley Sunday News, all rights reserved.

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