Six Sandusky County police chiefs are awaiting the results of a renewed state investigation after they say a previous inquiry into missing prescription pills allegedly taken by Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer was botched.
Gibsonburg Police Chief Paul Whitaker is president of the Police Chief’s Association of Sandusky County and spoke to newsnet5.com Monday on behalf of the chiefs.
The association includes Whitaker, Fremont police Chief James White, Bellevue police Chief Mark Kaufman, Green Springs police Chief Charles Horne, Clyde police Chief Bruce Gower and Woodville police Chief Roy Whitehead.
According to a report released by the group Thursday, Overmyer collected prescription pills dropped off by residents at the pill drop boxes located at four police stations this summer.
“The Sheriff told him that he had an agreement with the DEA in Toledo, when in fact he did not,” Whitaker told newsnet5.com, explaining the agency had no record of such an agreement.
A captain with Sheriff’s Department soon notified the chiefs “that the drugs collected by Sheriff Overmyer could not be found anywhere on the Sheriff Department’s grounds.”
On Aug. 22, Whitaker said the group contacted the Sandusky County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, which referred the matter to the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
Whitaker said investigators questioned Overmyer and obtained a urine sample but never interviewed any of the chiefs during the course of the investigation.
“We conduct investigations, we oversee investigations, we know how they work,” Whitaker said. “And this was botched.”
The group alleges there was “no evidence of the normal investigative doctrines such as interviews, subpoenas, search warrants,” conducted by the BCI.
With the investigation stalled, Whitaker said some residents began accusing the chiefs of trying to cover the story up.
“Which is absurd because we’re the ones that brought this investigation to light to begin with,” he said.
In a special meeting on Nov. 19, the PCASC report said the “BCI admitted ‘missed opportunities’ in the investigation and ‘misjudgment’ in the execution of the investigation.”
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office confirmed to newsnet5.com that the BCI was requested by the Sandusky County Prosecutor to investigate issues involving the Sandusky County Sheriff.
Ohio Attorney General’s Office Spokesperson Dan Tierney said that allegations referenced in the PCASC report and other allegations are being investigated and that they are all part of one, ongoing investigation.
Tierney said he could also confirm that the BCI has previously discussed the status of the investigation with the chiefs and have referenced that the investigation is examining additional allegations beyond those detailed in their release.
“The Ohio Attorney General’s Office understands the chiefs’ desire to have this investigation concluded and resolved,” Tierney said in a statement. “However, this is an active investigation which is still ongoing and which is still in the process of thoroughly pursuing all leads and allegations made in this matter.”
Meanwhile, Whitaker said the integrity of the county’s new Drug Task Force Unit is at stake while the allegations are left unsettled.
“We can’t walk away from this drug unit so when we see that it’s integrity is being threatened the police chiefs have to make some tough decisions, even if it ruffles some feathers,” he said.
newsnet5.com reached out to Overmyer for an interview. As of Monday evening, he did not respond to a request for comment.
The Sandusky County Prosecutor’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.
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