High-Ranking Patrol Officer Accused of Interference

by Kelly Mills on December 13, 2010 at 11:22 am

The second in command at the Ohio State Highway Patrol is under investigation after officials say he let a close friendship stemming from his days at the Zanesville Post of the State Highway Patrol, interfere with an investigation.

The Ohio Inspector General released a report Monday saying that Lieutenant Colonel Peyton Watts was in frequent telephone contact before and during the administrative investigation of former Patrol Staff Lieutenant Roger Norris.

In June an investigation began surrounding Norris, when officials say he was discovered in a secluded location in his unmarked patrol car with an underage female.

Norris retired in the midst of the criminal investigations by the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office and the Patrol.

In the report, the Inspector General found that Watts’ contact with Norris was inappropriate and that he did not reveal the frequency of the contact to investigators.

They have turned their investigation over to the Ohio Department of Public Safety Director to take appropriate action.

The report says the two men’s friendship dates back to 1987 when they served together at the Zanesville Highway Patrol Post.