Report Reveals Investigation into Mount Vernon Officer's Prescription Drug Use, Duties Transporting Prescription Drugs
By Timothy Perry
October 21, 2015 - 1:08 AM
MOUNT VERNON - A 2014 report obtained by MVOhio.net News reveals the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), a division of the Ohio Attorney General's Office, conducted an investigation into the prescription drug use of a Mount Vernon Police Department officer and the possibility of prescription drug theft by that officer.
The officer's name was redacted from the report, since no charges were filed.
According to the report, in January 2014, then-Knox County Prosecuting attorney John Thatcher asked for the assistance of the Ohio Attorney General's Office (and subsequently BCI) with an alleged Public Official Corruption case involving a Mount Vernon Police Officer. The assistance was requested due to the county Prosecutor's Office's ties with the Mount Vernon Police Department.
The investigation, conducted from January to March 2014, began when a local physician reported a new patient, whom he believed was a Knox County police officer to the Knox County Sheriff's Office. The patient had come to the doctor seeking treatment for chronic back pain. The patient had stated that he was not happy with his previous physician. According to the report, the patient reported that the medication prescribed by that physician was not providing relief for his pain. The report later noted that the patient had Morphine in his system. Although the report does not note the level of morphine in the patient's system, it does say that "a person with this level of morphine in their system should have a difficult time functioning in a normal capacity". The initial report was made to the Knox County Sheriff's office through a friend of the doctor.
The doctor became concerned after that patient failed to tell him about the use of certain medications. He became further concerned after consulting the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System, a system which collects information on all outpatient prescriptions for controlled substances dispensed by Ohio-licensed pharmacies and personally furnished by licensed prescribers in Ohio. The report redacts the names of the medications and also redacts the doctor's findings in the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System.
The doctor's office then sent a certified letter to the Officer's residence. It is unknown what what contained in the letter.
According to the report, the doctor also alluded to the patient having offered "sexual favors" in exchange for prescription drugs on a subsequent visit. He also noted that, while in the doctor's office, the patient placed his hand on the doctor's back and shoulders in a "rubbing motion". He declined to further discuss any sexual advances by the patient during an interview with investigators.
The report further looks into the Mount Vernon Officer's duties collecting prescription medications from the county's National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) drop boxes, located at the Knox County Sheriff's Office and Mount Vernon Police Department, and his duties in transporting them to the Mount Vernon Police Department's evidence room every 7-10 days, where they would sit unsecured until they were destroyed at a local funeral home's crematory.
The Sheriff, who had begun to question the drug destruction process upon learning of the doctor's complaint, began a new procedure, which did not require the Mount Vernon Officer to handle the discarded drugs at the Sheriff's Office without a Sheriff's Office designee being present. According to the report, the Sheriff had speculated that the Mount Vernon officer had been obtaining Morphine and Tramadol from the NADDI drop boxes.
A surveillance operation in which special investigators counted ten pills from the Sheriff's Office NADDI drop box and allowed the Mount Vernon Officer to transport them from the Sheriff's Office did not yield any evidence of theft.
At that point, then Mount Vernon City Law Director Chip McConville and Interim Chief George Hartz were notified of the investigation. The officer who was being investigated was then interviewed.
In the interview, the Mount Vernon Officer stated that he had sought a new physician due to an invoice dispute which had caused him to become disenchanted with his previous physician's office.
The officer noted that he had undergone five back surgeries and was taking Oxycodone and Percocet. He noted that the Mount Vernon Police Department was aware of his use of these medications.
When asked about the certified letter that the doctor sent him, the officer denied having seen it.
When asked about the Morphine and Tramadol levels in his toxocology screen, the report says the officer told the investigators that he had run out of his current prescription and had taken a Morphine and Tramadol prescription that he had kept from a 1999 back surgery. He stated that he no longer had the bottles for this prescription.
According to the report, the officer became increasingly agitated with the special agents. At one point, he stated that "I've been around for a while, I'm not going to answer that". The special agents continued with the interview until they believed it was no longer progressing, at which point they left.
The report noted that on Monday, March 17, 2014, Melissa Schiffel, the Knox County Special Prosecutor who had been appointed to the case wrote an email which stated, "I advised Prosecutor thatcher that we will not be filing any charges in this matter".
The case has been marked as closed.
It is unknown whether this investigation had any connection to the recent investigation and subsequent arrest pf Mount Vernon Police Detective Matthew Dailey.
The full text of the report, with portions redacted by the BCI in black due to no charges having been filed and portions in red redacted by MVOhio.net News to protect the reporting doctor can be found below: