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18 wildlife officers may have been deer hunting, not working 
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Post 18 wildlife officers may have been deer hunting, not working
Ohio Inspector General says 18 wildlife officers may have been deer hunting, not working

By D'Arcy Egan, The Plain Dealer
on December 13, 2013 at 2:18 PM, updated December 13, 2013 at 5:39 PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio – An investigation by the Ohio Inspector General’s Office revealed 18 county officers might have been sport hunting for white-tailed deer when they were supposed to be working afield for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

“The officers named in the investigation will be given administrative duties, restricted to ODOW district offices and won’t have a law enforcement capacity,” said Bethany McCorkle, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. “We will conduct an internal investigation. This type of behavior will not be tolerated, but we also want to be sure the officers receive due process.”

McCorkle said commissioned wildlife officers who presently are investigators, supervisors and administrators would replace the officers in the field.

The OIG investigation into wildlife officers hunting while still on the clock began May 9, 2012. It was prompted by charges in 2012 against Wildlife Officer Allan Wright of Brown County and Wildlife Supervisor David Warner. The men were pictured among a group of hunters who had harvested deer. Wright and Warner were both still in uniform, and had submitted time sheets that claimed they were on the job at the time.

The OIG office felt that wildlife officers going hunting while they were supposed to be on duty might also be prevalent in other parts of Ohio. It requested records of all deer harvested for the 2009-2010 deer hunting seasons. Investigators checked them against the hours submitted by 122 officers among the 490 employees of the ODOW who do not have to report to an office, mostly area supervisors and county wildlife officers.

Northern Ohio wildlife officers among the 18 being investigated, and the counties where they hunted, include Scott Denamen in Geauga County; Jeremy Carter in Holmes County; Brian Bury in Sandusky County; and Brett Barnes in Stark County.

The OIG office had sent letters to 26 ODOW employees who were the most likely to have gone hunting during the hours they claimed they were on the job. Only eight responded, according to an OIG press release, and none of the employees agreed to be interviewed.

Prosecuting attorneys in several Ohio counties have been given a report of the OIG investigation in order to continue local investigations.

Other wildlife officers being investigated, and the county where they were to have hunted, include: David Gilkey in Adams County; Brian Baker in Belmont County; Joshua Zientek in Butler County; Jeffrey Tipton in Champaign County; David Brown and Nicholas Turner in Columbiana County; Matthew Smith in Defiance County; Roy Rucker in Fayette County; Brad Kiger in Franklin County; Roy Rucker in Gallia and Fayette counties; James Carnes in Highland County; Troy Reimund in Hocking County; Ryan Garrison in Mercer County; Travis Abele in Vinton County; and Brad Baske in Wyandot County.

Brown retired about a year ago. ... _wild.html

Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:28 am
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