The state watchdog is referring 18 more Ohio wildlife officers for possible criminal prosecution after a follow-up investigation into illegal hunting while on duty uncovered additional cases across the state.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said Friday it immediately would place 17 officers on administrative duty and remove their law enforcement powers pending an internal investigation. The 18th officer, a supervisor, has retired.
Inspector General Randall Meyer found in comparing deer harvest and payroll records that the officers had either hunted while on duty, or they were off duty and had falsified payroll records to collect pay for hours not worked.
Meyer launched the probe after an earlier investigation resulted in the conviction of two Brown County officers. He said he suspected it was more than an isolated incident.
By JULIE CARR SMYTH - AP Statehouse Correspondent