I-Team investigates police leaving their town for lunch, leaving no one on patrol

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BOSTON HEIGHTS, Ohio -- The FOX 8 I TEAM has found no one patrolling the streets of one local village as police there go to lunch in another town.

We’re asking questions about what’s going on in Boston Heights, a village in Summit County.

On Friday, the I TEAM saw Boston Heights Police rolling up to a restaurant in Stow several miles from their town hall. Boston Heights may only have a handful of officers on duty at a given time. And when they’re having lunch together outside their village as they did Friday, there are no police on the streets of Boston Heights.

As officers left the restaurant, the I TEAM asked the chief how many officers were patrolling Boston Heights at that moment. Chief Ray Heatwall answered, “There is no one on the road, right now.” He added, “There’s really nowhere to eat in Boston Heights.”

The I TEAM has learned this happens often on Fridays. This time, we saw a police unit roll up at 11:08. Another, 20 minutes later. And the officers left just after noon.

A law enforcement source says these lunchtime gatherings have been going on for a long time. In fact, a worker at the restaurant confirmed that. But that worker also pointed out, at times, those officers have also gotten calls and scrambled out leaving food on the table.

Some citizens we met question the lunch gatherings, too. Ken Baker said, “Especially these days. You can step into a convenience store and get into trouble."

The I TEAM also asked the chief directly about leaving the town unattended. He responded, "We have mutual aid with other parties, other departments. And anything can happen anyway. We could be on the farther northern part of town. We're still minutes away."

We also reached out to the mayor of the village, and we did not get a response.

You should know, if you call 911 in Boston Heights, you’ll always get an answer.

Dispatching is handled by another agency. A call can be sent to Boston Heights officers, or the chief said, if needed, officers from another nearby department.

He would not say, however, if the lunches at the restaurant would continue.