Sexting investigation: Sandusky cop threatened to shoot fellow officer

Two Sandusky police officers caught up in a sexting scandal both lawyered up when Erie County Sheriff's deputies came knocking.
Emil Whitis
Mar 21, 2012


Two Sandusky police officers caught up in a sexting scandal both lawyered up when Erie County Sheriff’s deputies came knocking.

Erie County Sheriff’s Capt. Paul Sigsworth was tasked with investigating possible crimes resulting from an alleged love triangle involving Sandusky police Sgt. Steven Ritterbach, his wife, Jennifer, and Officer Todd Smith.

Ritterbach accused Smith of sleeping with Jennifer, while Smith told a fellow officer that Ritterbach had previously condoned the affair, according to a police report.

The scandal came to a head earlier this month when Ritterbach allegedly threatened to shoot Smith in the records department, a police report said.

“Sgt. Ritterbach told him that when he was talking with Lt. (Max) Jarrett, he told Lt. Jarrett that he might shoot Officer Smith if they continue to work together,” the report said.

Sigsworth is handing over his findings to Norwalk law director Stu O'Hara to consider for possible criminal charges.

Ritterbach also told Jarrett that Smith had purchased steroids from Jennifer, according to the report.

An internal investigation by Lt. John Orzech is ongoing.

Smith and Ritterbach have been on paid administrative leave since March 8, pending the outcome of the investigations.

For more on this story, pick up Wednesday's Register.



Gee buying drugs, threatening to shoot a fellow officer, playing the 3 some game with a fellow officers wife, and these remedial clowns are on paid leave? Please explain why the tax payers are paying these Idiots that are supposed to be protecting the citizens of Sandusky!!!


I have a question-why isn't Lt. Max Jarrett in trouble for not reporting when Ritterbach went to him and said he was gonna shoot Smith? Oh I forgot- Jarrett and Sams, NOT Lang, run the SPD!


I think it's about time to get rid of the officers that continually are in trouble. Dui's, 3 somes, buying drugs, wrecking cruisers, threatening to kill each other, looking for fights off duty in bars, etc. and their punishment is paid leave. It's time to clean out the bad eggs and replace them with officers that are capable of doing their job description and stop coddling these officers that continually screw up time and time again.


Wondering if Jennifer is on paid administrative leave as well, that way the three of them can travel to some off distant tropical island and do there thangs!

If she doesn't loose her nursing license I will be surprised.   And I'll REALLY be surprised if she goes to jail for selling prescription drugs.


@ Blacktigress:

I like your analogy, too funny. I think someone should call Firelands Hospital and maybe drop a dime on her since she has hot pants and selling drugs to an officer. Big question is were they her steroids, and if so she should have to produce a script. If not it would lead people to think she had stolen them from the hospital. Interesting to say the least.


I`m wondering how many SPD cops are on PAID leave for doing something they should have been fired for. I believe it is time SPD clean house and remove the idiot cops who believe they are above the laws they are there to enforce.  This is NOT the way to gain respect from the people they are there to SERVE AND PROTECT. 


Steroids ?  Bwahahahahahahaha !  Have you seen these two ?  Lmao !  Maybe they shoulda been lifting weights if they were in fact taking roids because they got ripped off !  OMG, this gets better by the minute !  The bed has been made....How does it feel to lie in it you 3 ? Sorry for the was intended :)  


SB 5--Proved who really is in power, it sure is John Doe taxpaying honest citizen.  You are not going to beat their union and union lawyers.  As it stands now, further to pay them than have a court fight.


"Ritterbach also told Jarrett that Smith had purchased steroids from Jennifer, according to the report."   if this is true, why hasn't anyone been arrested and charged?  and


FruGalSpender....more than likely the steroid allegation is not true or someone would have been arrested.  One look at both of these fine "officers" will tell you they are not doing roids !


Yet another lesson.  Watch what you say, where you say it and who you say it to.  I have a feeling the "threat" was more of a venting thing considering he just married the girl.  Regardless  of who you are, where you work, if you think you're in an awesome new relationship and find out she's doing what she's doing, you'd be upset too!  Now the next officer is reporting such conversations to keep his own rear out of the pot.  What a sad sad sad story...............and like a train wreck, we all know we shouldn't look, but we do.  While you are so busy judging them for their personally lives, keep your own "backyard" in mind and the fact that these people have children! 


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines

dig this

  Time to drug test the whole department. What else will come out? I hope Jennifer wasn't taking drugs from the hospital.


i think they should fire ritterbach for saying what he said we dont need no more crap in sandusky . the sandusky police department doesnt need anymore stress they have   enough on there hands . and not a police officer threating other police men on there department . something should be done about him therating mr smith . and maybe they should pull his wife in too and ask her questions and see what is really going on  between them two instead of taking it open him self and doing whatever. so spd keep your head up . and get rid of ritterbach.


Funny how we need to police the police.


I have to feel for the next police chief coming up.  What a mess he will be walking into.  How can you run a police department when most of the officers are on suspension.    

Kottage Kat

This is what SB5 bought you.                     Kat

Julie R.

It's going to get to the point that nobody will even WANT to run for police chief in Sandusky.


All I know is if this was me at my place of employment I would have been fired. And I work in an union shop. Also I get random drug tested does SPD?

Tru Grit

Oh boy. I have had a few late night run-in with ol' Rittenbach. Why are we paying the wages for these morons?? Fire him, fire Smith, fire the people on this staff that are making everyother cop look like a complete joke. I don't take the police in this town serious at all.


His wife must feel like a real peice of meat when she goes to work everyday. You know people look at her and say "wow here that crap in the paper about her." Way to go Rittenbach, you have your wife looking like a "loose woman."

I think the steriod bit, might be off cause smith is no bigger then a high school freshman. That is the real joke about this article.

SPD, clean house or someone else will do it.


Time for this department to "clean house" and hire fresh, and start over.

Just Sayin IMHO

 Cops are turning on each other, I see. So much for the code..... Happening all over the country, it seems. Too much abuse of authority, too much corruption, too much of everything. Sad....and destructive. Get it together..... young kids look to our police officers as role models....what is this teaching them? What's wrong with you people?


How is the statement "I think I might shoot him if we continue to work together" turn into a threat?  Sounds to me like shop talk.  I interpret it as you need to separate us or it will not be good. Why would a supervisor not seperate them?  Poor management on their part.


Ruth Haag for Police Chief !! Sharon Johnson for Dog Catcher (sorry Barb !)


OMG.....are these people chilren?????  they sure act like it?   And we put guns in some of their hands????

Ok, the next time we need help, I am calling the fire department....he heck with the police.  They are too busy sexting and getting drunk.  I feel safer calling the fire department. 


@ Kottage Kat

What do you mean this is what HB 5 got us? 
HB5 was voted out, Please explain



If you ask me, the general mindset is immature and police are no different.  Went to the same schools and grew up in the same areas you all did.  How can you even begin to judge someone else that is obviously very much the same as you?


Leave them alone!  These two SPD officers are FOP UNION members and will not have to face a thing.  It is all about who can make more EXCUSES than the other.  Get a grip.  These love triangles occur all the time.  Oh, I know there are some self-righteous people with NO purpose in life on a blog who CLAIM they are innocent little beings with fairy wings.  They have NEVER heard of anyone doing such a thing.  I call BS on that!  This is about being RESPONSIBLE!  They are all connected via SPD and that is it.  They are all friends, compadres and lovers and their common denominator is SPD.  That is NOT a crime!  It is all about which one is LYING about who "condoned the affair" between all of them and pointing fingers of BLAME!  If the female was selling "roids" at home and her husband was aware, then that is also an issue.  This has now disgorged into the work place and "secrets" are made manifest, until now.  Come on you organized labor UNION freaks, you can list many who have done the exact same thing where you work or worked.  Both officers have "lawyered" up.  Like two-bit thugs.  Sounds exactly like the UNION culture to me.  Ha! Ha!  These type of human interactions even occur in church.  They are usually kept discreet, that is until someone begins BRAGGING about it.  All three in this case are WRONG morally, but so far not criminally.  If (Sheriff) Siggy is on the case, both finally realize this will be a no soap opera internal investigation.  So leave them alone.  They will face their own personal aphorisms in life and PAY for them.  We all do eventually.  If Ritterbach expressed his desire to SHOOT Smith, then there is SPD conduct concern.  I had a few tell me, "If I end up mortally wounded, please do the right thing and I will do the same for you."  So, sports fans, does THAT qualify as a workplace psychiatric mental disorder??