December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Vermilion officer on leave after wife files assault complaint

VERMILION — A Vermilion police officer of 25 years had his guns taken away and was placed on indefinite leave after his wife told police he assaulted her last week.

On Thursday Ricky Riggs, 55, was served with a civil protection order by the Erie County Sheriff’s Department and ordered to stay 500 feet away from his wife following a domestic incident last Wednesday.

About 10:45 a.m. Thursday, officers from the Erie County Sheriff’s Department responded to Riggs’ home in Vermilion after his wife called to say that Riggs had assaulted her the night before.

Patricia Riggs, 55, told officers that she had an argument with Ricky Riggs at their home in Vermilion the evening before. She told police she thought that her husband was having an affair with another woman and when she confronted him, he pushed her and hit her, she told police.

She told police Ricky Riggs slept on the couch, and he was not home when she called police the next day, a delay she did not explain. She told officers who arrived that her husband’s anger was not uncommon.

She said he had assaulted her before, and the couple’s 29-year-old son, Brian Riggs, agreed, saying it was like someone “flipped a switch’’ when his father got into an argument with him or his mother, according to a police report.

Patricia Riggs said she did not want to pursue charges, and police did not file any on her behalf. She called police again when Ricky Riggs returned home, and he denied hitting his wife and said her allegations were “all drama,’’ police said.

They noted in a report that he seemed pretty “nonchalant’’ about the matter.

After talking to Ricky Riggs, members of the Erie County Sheriff’s Department met with the Vermilion Police Department. Later on Thursday, they found Ricky Riggs at a friend’s house on Arlinton Drive in Vermilion where they confiscated his guns, including a service weapon issued by the Police Department and four personal firearms, and served him with a civil protection order to stay 500 feet away from his wife.

To Vermilion Police Chief Chris Hartung, the incident comes as a shock.

“It’s unfortunate and surprising,” Hartung said.

He added that Ricky Riggs has never had disciplinary issues.

“He has a low-key persona,” Hartung said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.