The issues that began in February with charges against Bethesda Police Chief Eric Smith continue to play out in western Belmont County. Smith remains suspended from his post pending an investigation underway by the Ohio Attorney General’s office.

At the May 24 Bethesda Council meeting, two more full-time officers resigned. Francesca Y. Ceccanese and Kyler Hanlon, both resource officers for the Union Local School District, tendered their resignations.

And, the Council approved at the same meeting the transfer of the force’s K-9 dog, Frankie, to the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department.

The Bethesda department has service contracts with the Village of Belmont and the Union Local School District. Both are currently moving to establish independent forces.

The night before the Bethesda meeting, Belmont Council held a special meeting on the matter of police voting to re-establish a local police force. Two years ago, the Belmont force was dissolved and merged with Bethesda’s department. The village still owns two cruisers. At the meeting, Mayor Stanley Sobel indicated the force could be up and running by July 1.

The Union Local School District terminated its contract with Bethesda at a special meeting on May 3. At the same meeting, the Board voted to hire Jason Greenwood, retired Ohio State Highway patrolman, as a resource office coordinator.