MOUNT VERNON — A man previously believed to be impersonating a police officer has been identified as an Ohio State Highway Patrol employee.
Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer said an investigation is underway by the Ohio State Highway Patrol headquarters in Columbus into a Tuesday traffic stop made in Apple Valley by an OSHP employee driving an unmarked vehicle.
The OSHP employee, whose name has not been released, was driving a black GMC SUV equipped with a blue dash strobe light and siren. He stopped a Mount Vernon News carrier delivering papers on Northern Spy Drive Tuesday.
The OSHP employee was wearing a dark coat with a patch that said “Highway Patrol,” but was not wearing a hat or other identifying insignia, the News carrier said. After making the stop, he did not leave the dash light on.
The OSHP employee told the carrier that he stopped her for speeding and was letting her go with a warning. The carrier said the OSHP employee told her he is around the area a lot and would ticket her the next time he pulled her over.
The OSHP employee is not believed to be currently assigned as a road officer, Shaffer said.
Although the incident is under investigation, “there is no danger to the public,” Shaffer, writing in a Thursday press release, said.
If concerned about the legitimacy of an officer, Shaffer suggests contacting the Knox County dispatch center or asking for the officer’s identification.
A similar stop was reported to the sheriff’s office that occurred about a year ago, Shaffer said. The incident involved a different vehicle, and it is not known if the two stops are related.
Shaffer said in an e-mail to the News he is unaware if OSHP employees are considered on duty “while traveling.”
Representatives with OSHP were unavailable for comment as of press time.