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  • Pt. II: Trooper lied; the Dispatch denies

One of the supporting characters in the trumped up farce being called “Troopergate” is former Highway Patrol Superintendent/Col. Richard Collins.? Collins is part of the retired Superintendent’s forming “Trooper to Trooper” who are alleging that that Ohio Department of Public Safety is wrongfully trying to assert influence over Patrol matters.? He is an advocate that the Patrol be able to act independently of the Ohio Department of Public Safety even though it legally is not independent, but a subordinate agency of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

All this Randy Ludlow of the Columbus Dispatch reported like a dutiful stenographer.? Except that Collins is still under investigation by the Ohio Ethics Commission concerning his tenure as former Superintendent of the Patrol.? He’s hardly an unblemished advocate for the Patrol to do what he pleases.

During his sworn testimony, Collins was asked by State Senator Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland) about a 2008 incident in which a Highway Patrol Officer, in uniform on the job, dress up like a Klansman.

Sgt. Eric Wlodarsky took the picture.? They were on duty.? It was photographed at the Sandusky Highway Patrol Post.

First, here’s Sen. Smith’s question, and Collins’ response:

Sen. Smith:?? Mr. Chair to the witness.? Weren?t you also aware or did you tell the Director of Puyblic Safety that one of the troopers involved in this Klu Klux Klan issue had used the word ?nigger??

Mr. Collins:?? That was another investigation that was done involving this trooper and as I recall ? I?m going from memory here ? as I recall that investigation never established the fact that in fact that person used that term, as I recall, the conclusion of that investigation. (emphasis added.)

According to public records?from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, when the Ohio Department of Public Safety was considering whether the officers should be terminated (the Governor publicly indicated they should have been), the Director asked Collins if any of these officers had any other racially-based incidents in the past.

Collins told the Director, his supervisor, that they had none.

In reality, Sgt. Wlodarsky had been accused by another trooper of using the word “nigger” over the radio and in a phone call to a trooper.? Sgt. Wlodarsky admitted that he had used the term “nigger” before, but denied that he used the term in these particular incidents.? The dispatcher who received Wlodarsky’s transmission could not recall whether he used the term “nigger” or “black.”? There was no witness except the accusing officer and Wlodarsky, even though phone records confirmed that a conversation between the two did occur as alleged.? Therefore, given the accusing officer’s unspecified history of “dishonesty,” the Highway Patrol concluded that the allegation was unsubstantiated.? However, they did order Wlodarsky to undergo counseling regarding the accusation.

The person who conducted the investigation in that case also conducted the investigation into the KKK incident.? When he inquired whether his report should include the prior allegations, the investigator was told by the top brass at the Patrol to omit it, even though he could have mentioned it and his conclusions that the prior incidents could not be confirmed as true.

During an?internal investigation by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Collins admitted that he was aware of the prior incidents when he told the Director that these officers had no prior incidents involving allegations of racism and that it was true that he socialized and regularly played card with Sgt. Wlodarsky.? However, Collins claimed that he didn’t find the prior incidents relevent as they were not substantiated, nor was the prior counsel of Wlodarsky for racial slurs as it was not considered “discipline,”? and he felt his socialization with Wlodarsky played no role in his failure to disclose the prior incident to the Director’s direct question.

Collins testified, under penalty of perjury, that no investigation ever found that the officers involved in the KKK photo incident had used the term “nigger” before even though one officer (who Collins just happens to socialize with) had, in fact, admitted to doing just that.

I’m forwarding this post to Sen. Smith’s office for comment.? I wonder if Sen. Grendell will be brave enough to make a referral for criminal perjury charges.? The more I delve into these records, the more I find examples of things this officers simply are not telling the truth about.

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