Freeman community reacts to Police Chief's suspension over prescription drug charges
The Freeman police chief has been suspended after being charged with three counts of obtaining prescription drugs from different medical practitioners at the same time.
The news of the charges against Police Chief Eric Seitz has shaken many in the small community of about 1300 people.
"It took me by complete surprise when I heard the news," said long time Freeman Resident Kristi Stahl.
Seitz began as police chief in August 2012, but even in that short time, members of the community we spoke with say he made a great impression on everyone.
"He always seemed to be around town, seemed like he was a nice guy; he was wonderful with my kids, I really don't have a bad thing to say about him," said Stahl.
Freeman's City Attorney Mike Fink also had nothing but good things to say of Seitz.
"He's a good employee and very well liked. I'm hoping for the best for him, because good law enforcement officers are hard to find," said Fink.
Freeman Police Chief Eric Seitz was indicted March 14 on three counts of possession of a controlled substance obtained concurrently from different medical practitioners. The charges allege Seitz purchased hydrocodone and carisoprodol from August 1, 2012 to October 31, 2012 without telling another medical practitioner he had already purchased the drugs.
All charges are Class One Misdemeanors. Seitz turned himself in to be arrested. He is out after posting $500 bond.
"It's still a misdemeanor, it's still an offence....and being on the police force, I guess a person should know better," said Stahl.
The City found out about Seitz indictment on Monday and Seitz was suspended on Tuesday. Freeman City Attorney Mike Fink says while the indictment was part of the reason for Seitz's suspension, the terms of his bond also played a role because Seitz wouldn't be allowed to hold a firearm.
This suspension brings the Freeman police force down to one officer. Fink says the current Freeman police officer will take on more hours and the City may ask the Hutchinson County Sheriff's Office to help patrol the Freeman area.
"We do have a HP [highway patrol] and a sheriff that lives in town here, so that also makes it a little safer," said Stahl.
We did try to reach out to Seitz for comment, but were not able to get in contact with him. He is scheduled to appear in court for these charges in May.
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