'He's plastered': CMSD deputy police chief arrested, charged for drunk driving

Updated: Apr. 19, 2018 at 5:01 PM EDT
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Deputy Chief Dennis Hill (Source: CMSD)
Deputy Chief Dennis Hill (Source: CMSD)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The deputy chief of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Division of Safety and Security has been arrested for drunk driving.

Dennis Hill, 51, has been charged with OVI and speeding. He was arrested just after midnight Saturday in Highland Heights.

Police records show Hill was driving his 2017 Lexus ES in the I-271 southbound express lanes near Highland Road when an officer clocked him going 86 miles per hour. The speed limit in that area is 60 miles per hour.

Traffic ticket shows Hill was driving 26 mph over the speed limit (Source: Highland Heights)

Cleveland 19 obtained police dash and body camera footage of the April 14 incident, which shows Hill slurring and stumbling through field sobriety tests.

Hill told the officer who pulled him over that he had just left the area of Lee Road and Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights and was on his way home to Reminderville.

A Highland Heights police officer can be heard telling a fellow officer on the scene that Hill is "plastered" and "either he has a speech impediment or he's plowed." When asked if he had any alcoholic drinks that evening, Hill stated that he had consumed two martinis.

An officer then asks Hill to step out of his vehicle. "Please don't do this," Hill pleads." Please."

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Hill is lead to the back of his car where an officer performs a field sobriety eye gaze test on him. "He can't follow anything," the police officer says to two other officers who had just arrived. "He's been drinking. Heavily."

Hill can be heard slurring when asked to count and recite the alphabet.

Officers also asked Hill to perform a walking test and to stand on one leg. He can be seen stumbling during both tests.

The Highland Heights Police Department says Hill refused to take a breathalyzer test. In the state of Ohio, refusing a breathalyzer test results in an immediate suspension of driving privileges.

Hill can be heard pleading with officers as they take him into custody.

"30 years on the job. 30 years," Hill says, referring to his career in law enforcement.

The Cleveland Metropolitan Police Department hired Hill to serve as deputy chief of the district's police and security department in 2016. He earns $113,189 per year working for the district.

Before being hired by CMSD, Hill worked for the Cleveland Division of Police for nearly 29 years. He ended his career with the city as commander of the Fifth District.

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Hill was investigated by Internal Affairs at least four times during his career with CPD. Between 1993 and 2012, Hill was accused of rape, assault, misconduct and unauthorized secondary employment. He was cleared of wrongdoing in each case.

We reached out to Hill for comment Thursday but were told he was in a meeting. Messages left for the deputy chief have not been returned.

CMSD provided Cleveland 19 News with the following statement regarding Deputy Chief Hill's arrest:

"Officer Hill self-reported the incident to his supervisor and was assigned to desk duties pending the outcome. In the meantime, the officer is not permitted to drive district vehicles. CMSD follows Ohio law regarding hiring or continuing employment of persons convicted of prohibitive offenses.  OVI is not listed as a prohibitive offense."

Lyndhurst Municipal Court records show Hill pleaded not guilty to the OVI and speeding offenses. He has a pretrial hearing scheduled May 16.

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