UPDATE: Ohio State Highway Patrol has released body camera footage from two of the officers being arrested.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Division of Police relieved three officers of duty after they were each arrested within four days of one another in unrelated OVI incidents.
Officer Robbie Whitlow, Sgt. Melvin Romans and Officer Tylor Nixon are all without their gun and badges as of Tuesday evening, on either restricted duty or leave, a Columbus police spokesperson said.
Gahanna Division of Police officers arrested Nixon, 26, on Friday morning around 3:10 a.m., and he has since pleaded not guilty to two OVI charges in Franklin County Municipal Court. At the time of the arrest, Nixon’s blood alcohol level was measured at .168 via a breathalyzer test — more than double the state legal limit of .08, according to court records.
Nixon also faces a felony charge of improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle for a loaded handgun he allegedly had in the back of the vehicle, but he had not entered a plea on that charge as of Tuesday evening. His next date in court is scheduled for Friday, March 24.
Romans, 43, faces OVI and driving on right side of road charges in Circleville Municipal Court in Pickaway County after he was arrested Sunday morning around 1:20 a.m. by Ohio State Highway Patrol, according to court records. An October 2022 post made by CPD on Facebook highlighted Romans as the Officer of the Year, awarded by Central Ohio Crime Stoppers.
One day after Romans’ arrest, Ohio State Highway Patrol arrested Whitlow, 35, on Monday around 2:40 a.m. in Pickerington, according to Fairfield County Municipal Court records. Whitlow refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.
Whitlow is facing OVI and lane violation charges. He is scheduled to be arraigned in court next Tuesday.
The arrests came the same day that Columbus police announced a newly-rebranded DUI mobile breathalyzer would begin patrols ahead of St. Patrick’s Day.
Brian Steel, the executive vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Local 9, said in a Twitter post Wednesday morning he was “disappointed, embarrassed and recognize the irony of three members arrested for OVI the same weekend ‘newly branded’ CPD OVI truck unveiled.”
“As a friend, I stand by these brothers and support them on their road to professional and personal recovery,” Steel’s post read.
A fourth Columbus police officer — Trier Knieper — remains on duty after being charged with OVI, drag racing or street racing, and speeding for a Jan. 3 incident along Interstate 270. She is due back in court on April 24.
A statement from Columbus police, issued Wednesday, read:
We can confirm that three of our officers were arrested over the weekend charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
When situations like these occur within our Division, we provide our officers with all the help they need through our Center for Public Safety Wellness. The Wellness Center provides a safe space for police, fire, and dispatchers to get the support they need and to address the stress that comes with the high standards of the public safety profession.Columbus Division of Police statement