Kent State drug task officer charged with drug possession

Amanda Crumm

A retired Kent State University police officer and former adjunct justice studies professor is facing weapons and drug charges after a Portage County grand jury indicted him during the summer.

Daniel P. Fitzpatrick, 57, is charged with two counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, both first-degree misdemeanors; one count each of carrying a concealed weapon, a fourth-degree felony; and improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle and possession of drugs, both fifth-degree felonies.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol stopped him Dec. 25, 2011 on Porter Road in Ravenna for a vehicle defect, according to a police report; however, he was not indicted until Aug. 7. The highway patrol could not comment due to the case being an ongoing investigation.

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Daniel P. Fitzpatrick Indictment (PDF)

Daniel P. Fitzpatrick Indictment (Text)

Fitzpatrick’s indictment papers

The university was not aware of Fitzpatrick’s arrest until his indictment in August, said Eric Mansfield, executive director of university media relations. Mansfield noted he was in between phases of his contract with the university at the time of the incident.

“It was a surprise to us, too,” Mansfield said.

Bob Burford, university communications and marketing coordinator, said Fitzpatrick was not fired, and it is unknown if plans for Fitzpatrick to return to Kent State were in place.

The incident report showed that Fitzpatrick told the state trooper he had a firearm on his person after field sobriety tests were conducted. The trooper then discovered a loaded Glock 9mm handgun and less than one gram of an unidentified substance in his vehicle.

A urine test detected marijuana in his system and laboratory results confirmed the substance found in his vehicle was Pentedrone, otherwise known as bath salts, a new designer drug that causes paranoid delusions and hallucinations.

Bath salts have been illegal to possess or sell in Ohio since October 2011, after stiffer drug laws were passed by the state legislature.

Fitzpatrick was arrested Aug. 7 after the Court of Common Pleas issued a warrant for his arrest to the Portage County Sherriff on July 2. He pleaded not guilty and was released on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond, according to the Clerk of Courts office.

A pre-trial is set for Nov. 16 at 11:00 a.m., and his jury trial is scheduled for Nov. 28 at 9:00 a.m. Both trials will be before judge John A. Enlow.

Fitzpatrick retired from the Kent State Police Department in 2008. He later returned as a consultant on safety issues for Kent State’s regional campus system and taught criminal justice studies classes as an adjunct professor until May 2012, according to Burford.

Fitzpatrick also served as an administrator for the multi-agency Western Portage Drug Task Force, which is now known as the Portage County Drug Task Force.

Prosecuting attorney Victor Vigluicci could not be reached for comment.

Contact Amanda Crumm at [email protected].