Two Athens County 911 Employees Under Investigation

By
Steve Robb - Athens Messenger staff reporter

Dateline
Updated Wed, Aug 14, 2013 11:01 am

An investigation into possible procedural violations in use of a law enforcement data system at the Athens County 911 Center involves two employees.

During a meeting Tuesday, the county commissioners went into closed-door session with 911 Director Dan Pfeiffer to discuss a disciplinary matter involving two employees. Later, they voted to give Commission President Lenny Eliason authority to approve any disciplinary recommendation that might be forthcoming from Pfeiffer after the investigation.

Pfeiffer confirmed that the disciplinary matter discussed Tuesday relates to the investigation being done by the State Highway Patrol into use of the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System, known as LEADS.

Because the investigation is still under way, Pfeiffer would not discuss the nature of the allegations. He did say that both employees are being investigated in connection with the same incident, and that there were witnesses to what occurred.

The patrol has not told him when he can expect the investigation to be completed, Pfeiffer said.

As of Tuesday morning, the patrol had not yet interviewed the two dispatchers nor the witnesses to the incident, according to Pfeiffer. Both employees have been in contact with the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the union representing 911 dispatchers, Pfeiffer said.

Pfeiffer said there are very strict rules for use of LEADS, which is based in Franklin County, because of the need to protect the privacy of the information in the system. Violations can be a felony.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn told The Messenger on Monday that he has been in contact with Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien about the situation.

“I don’t believe, at this point, they have seen any criminal intent behind the actions. It’s more procedural,” Pfeiffer said.

Asked if there are any indications that LEADS information was used for any purpose other than law enforcement, Pfeiffer replied, “not right now.”

Sheriff Patrick Kelly told The Messenger on Monday that a dispatcher reportedly provided information from the database to a deputy in the field without the deputy having asked for the information. According to procedure, the officer must request the information before the dispatcher can release it, Kelly said.

“His description of what happened is not what happened,” Pfeiffer said Tuesday, although he would not elaborate.

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