PICKAWAY COUNTY –
For some time, residents and travelers alike have noticed that the Village of New Holland is a speed trap. When traveling east to west on SR 22, multiple signs warn motorists of the posted speed limits, and their impending ticket should they fail to heed the legal limits.
One person at the center of this battle is Karen Francis, who recently filed a police report with the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office against New Holland law enforcement. In the police report obtained by the Scioto Post, a report was taken against New Holland law enforcement regarding trespassing on Mrs. Francis’ private property.
As per the report, on May 18th, a neighbor noticed that New Holland law enforcement was parked on Francis’ private property, despite statements made during a Village meeting that she did not want the police chief, Jason Lawless, on her property. During the incident, words were exchanged between the neighbor, Christopher Strickland, and New Holland Police Chief Jason Lawless that led to the Pickaway County Sheriff’s deputy to remove Strickland from the situation.
Francis’ requested the New Holland law enforcement to leave, which was refused, resulting in the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Department responding to the incident in a case of jurisdiction-against-jurisdiction. According to the report, Chief Lawless was posted on the property to overwatch the Pettit’s Market due to possible drug activity which involved the county-wide Drug Task Force. The Pickaway deputy advised New Holland’s law enforcement that they needed to obtain permission from the property owner before involving situating a law enforcement vehicle on the property. Karen’s property now, as per the report, has a trespassing notice posted in a conspicuous location to prevent the incident from occurring again.
The feud between Mrs. Francis and New Holland law enforcement has been brewing for some time, as she has undertaken an effort to notify passersby that the town is a speed trap, which was first displayed in October 2017. According to Francis, the sign has brought harassment by New Holland’s law enforcement, and she has brought complaints to the Village concerning the issue of free speech. She has also stated that her residence is not within the village proper, and outside of New Holland’s official jurisdiction.
In a call to New Holland’s law enforcement, Police Chief Jason Lawless said that the charges filed at the municipal court were “The absurd, most ridiculous, most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard of in my entire life in the law enforcement world” and that they were in the process of preparing to arrest a drug trafficker until the operation was derailed by the incident.
In addition to Chief Lawless being charged in the court filing, along with a secondary officer, David Conrad Chief and County EMA Director. According to court documents, the case is set for a hearing on June 12th, and carries a maximum penalty of a $150.00 fine.