CHAMPION TWP., Ohio (WYTV) – A Champion Township police officer is facing over a dozen charges for unauthorized use of property.
Robert Koehler is facing 16 felony counts of unauthorized use of property, including computer, cable or telecommunications property.
Prosecutors say Koehler used Ohio’s Law Enforcement Gateway or OLEG at least 16 times for private reasons.
“That is prohibited by law. It is a system where law enforcement officers can access personal information and is to be used specifically for criminal investigations. It cannot be used privately,” said Trmbull County Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker.
All of the reported incidents happened between 2015 to 2017.
Champion Township Police Chief Jeffery White says the Attorney General’s office first contacted him about the accusations a year ago. After White says he found evidence himself, he sought help on the investigation from BCI. He says this situation angers him.
“I assure the residents of Champion Township the officers currently on our active duty roster are dedicated professionals and take their oath of office and their commitment to the community very seriously,” White said.
Koehler has been placed on unpaid administrative leave from that department.
He’s worked for the Champion Township Police Department for 34 years. Koehler was also the police chief in West Farmington and Craig Beach, according to the departments’ websites.
The mayor of Craig Beach confirmed Koehler has also been suspended from their police department.
Champion Township Police Chief Jeffery White released the following statement:
Last year in August of 2019, I was contacted by the Attorney General’s Office regarding allegations made against Officer Robert Koehler for misuse of the state’s OHLEG database. The OHLEG database is more commonly known as Ohio’s Law Enforcement Gateway. I reviewed the documentation sent to me regarding the allegations. I found a considerable amount of evidence supporting the allegations of misuse by Officer Koehler. I realized the investigation was going to be very in-depth and possibly multi-jurisdictional, so I requested assistance from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Last month, the investigation was completed and turned over to the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office for review. The end result was Robert Koehler was indicted on 16 counts of felony misuse of the state’s OHLEG database.
This situation angers me greatly because it now casts a shadow of doubt over this department and its integrity. I assure the residents of Champion Township the officers currently on our active duty roster are dedicated professionals and take their oath of office and their commitment to the community very seriously.”
Koehler is scheduled to be arraigned September 29.
This story is corrected to show Champion Township Police Department placed Koehler on administrative leave.