CRIDERSVILLE — The Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation has completed its investigation into alleged misconduct on the part of the police chief in the village of Cridersville.
Police Chief John Drake was placed on the paid administrative leave Aug. 2 following what Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon at the time said were reports received by his office alleging “misconduct of a public official” in Cridersville.
Cridersville Mayor Rick Walls at that time placed Drake on leave and named Lt. Brian Creech acting chief of police, pending the results of the unspecified BCI investigation..
Jill Del Greco, public information officer with BCI, confirmed in early August that a search warrant was executed at the Cridersville Police Department office. Del Greco on Friday said the agency’s investigation is now complete and that information has been turned over to a special prosecutor to determine if charges will be filed against Drake or whether the case will be taken before a local grand jury.
Cridersville Mayor Rick Walls could not be reached Friday for comment.
Lima attorney Angela Elliott, who serves as legal counsel for the village, in August confirmed the BCI’s presence at the police station but had no further comment surrounding the chief’s paid suspension. She said Drake serves at the pleasure of the mayor and that Walls acted on his own in placing the chief on administrative leave.
Solomon said his office was notified of a “possible issue” involving Drake, setting in motion the wheels for an outside investigation. BCI was called in to investigate, the sheriff said, “due to the potential conflict of interest” that could arise if Auglaize County authorities conducted the probe. Drake has worked in concert with the sheriff’s office on several occasions in the past, Solomon said.
The BCI spokeswoman said evidence “related to the investigation” was seized from the chief’s office during the search. She declined to provide additional information.
Drake has been Cridersville police chief since 1996.