Adam Klepper, a road deputy of about nine years, tendered his resignation Friday afternoon when confronted with the allegations.
The alleged misconduct is not only against the sheriff’s office’s rules, but also a felony offense, Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said.
Sandusky police Detective Gary Wichman is now handling the criminal investigation, both to avoid a conflict of interest and because Klepper allegedly accessed the information in Sandusky, at the Erie County Job and Family Services facility on West Parish Street, Sandusky police Chief John Orzech said. The Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, known as OHLEG, is a database teeming with sensitive information: old and current driver’s license photos, addresses, social security numbers and extensive criminal records, just to name a few.
While Ohio law enforcement officers have access to OHLEG for official purposes, they are strictly prohibited from running anyone’s name through the database for personal reasons, Orzech said.
But at this point, it appears that’s what Klepper allegedly did.
In a preliminary audit Tuesday of Klepper’s OHLEG account, Wichman found at least six names Klepper accessed, Orzech said. More names could come to light as the investigation wears on.
Of at least six names investigators are already aware of, some were Job and Family Services employees he worked alongside every day, Orzech said.
“It’s safe to say there were six or more people that he ran” Orzech said. “It could blossom into a whole bunch more, but we don’t have the exact count yet”
Sigsworth said he learned of the alleged offense Thursday afternoon, and he placed Klepper on administrative leave later that day.
At a pre-disciplinary meeting Friday with Klepper and his union representative, Klepper quit. He had worked at the Erie County Job and Family Services post for about a year, Sigsworth said.
This incident is not the first where Klepper allegedly acted out of line.
He was warned in October for meddling in Job and Family Services affairs after he argued with a social worker he mistakenly suspected was talking about him, Sigsworth said.
In early 2011, Klepper was disciplined for not responding to a car-versus-deer collision on Ohio 113.
In 2010, Klepper, a former DARE officer, was tagged in Facebook photos where several teens appeared to be drinking beer.