Ohio Investigative Unit
Who We Are – The Ohio Investigative Unit began as Liquor Control ( some still refer to it as such but this is not correct). In 1995, the enforcement section of the Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control was moved from Department of Commerce to the Department of Public Safety and Enforcement Agents were given 12 sections of Title 29, along with all civil and criminal liquor violations (Title 43). At this point all new hire persons and existing Agents who had not received training were to complete an O.P.O.T.A. Police Academy. They were now known as “Liquor Enforcement”. There existed, at the time, a small, statewide unit within Public Safety which investigated food stamp trafficking and violations. In 1998, legislation was passed and the Investigative Unit was created by the merging of the two units. All Agents were now “Enforcement Agents” with full title 29 authority (and title 43), within their scope of authority.
Authority – Pursuant to section 5502.01 and defined in section 2935.01 and described in 5502.14 ORC, Enforcement Agents are considered peace officers and given authority to operate as such in arrests, detentions, issuing citations within their scope of authority. This allows Agents who are working to make arrests for a wide range of criminal activity they observe as long as they are operating on a liquor permit premise, across the street, or adjacent to that property, or investigating a liquor/food stamp (EBT) case. An example would be an Agent issuing a person a misdemeanor citation for an open container and then witnessing an assault across the street. The Agent has authority to make the arrest for the assault.
Jurisdiction – Enforcement Agents of the Ohio Investigative Unit have statewide jurisdiction, within their scope of authority (on permit premise, across street, adjacent to, or investigating liquor/food stamp case). The Investigative Unit currently has over 60 Agents throughout Ohio. The central office/headquarters is in Columbus, with district offices in Columbus, Cincinnati, Athens, Canton, Cleveland, and Toledo. Each office has a number of counties assigned to it. The Columbus office currently serves 10 surrounding counties, including Franklin and is located on Alum Creek Drive, Columbus.
General Duties – The Ohio Investigative Unit is the only law enforcement agency with the authority to cite a liquor permit premise for a violations and make a criminal arrest of the employees committing the activity. As such, working with local law enforcement is a big part of the job. Officers within their jurisdiction may make a criminal case and forward the case to the Ohio Investigative Unit so that a citation against a permit premise may be issued, but if an Agent is working with them, the citation can be issued at the time the criminal charges are served. Agents work in teams of two or more and make many liquor related cases (underage drinking, serving underage, intoxication violations, prostitution cases in bars, etc), but during the course of these cases, other criminal cases are made as well (drug possession, assault, disorderly conduct, etc). As a general rule, Agents will tell people to think of the Agency as Ohio A.T.F. (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Food stamps!) or think of it as a statewide vice unit. Agents work tobacco enforcement through Federal grants and with the Federal government within their authority on a regular basis. Agents work off of complaints called in to their office from a variety of sources which can be for underage drinking , drugs, gambling, etc. Agents also regularly patrol areas of criminal activity within their assigned counties, such as OSU area for underage drinking and providing safety for the students while on plainclothes patrol.
Contact - All Ohio Investigative Unit offices are listed on line with contact addresses and phone numbers. The local office is located at 1583 Alum Creek Drive, Room M-101, Columbus, OH 43209. The office phone number is 614-644-2413.
Ohio Department of Commerce
Conducts & plans investigations & inspections of liquor permit premises & or medical marijuana entity facilities to determine & ensure compliance with statutory & administrative provisions; explain & interpret federal, state, local & departmental statutes/codes/ordinances & policies to business owners/operators; conducts unannounced interviews & inspections, conducts ownership investigations: assists businesses with operating in compliance with all requirements of laws, rules & regulations.
Determines on-view violations & or non-compliance issues; initiates &/or recommends appropriate corrective measures; conducts interviews (e.g. with convicted felons, permit holders/agents &/or witnesses): conducts research (e.g. reviews & interprets business/operating contracts for compliance; audits & reconciles books & records from permit premises operations, researches governmental records, determines &/or verifies citizenship; obtains certified copies of court records; prepares investigation report: prepares request for citation; takes/attests to affidavits; serves civil subpoenas; maintains evidence; conducts inspections.
Develops & maintains professional relationship with law enforcement agencies, licensees, general public & government elected officials, maintains contacts with attorneys & responds to status request; presents testimony as needed in civil & criminal courts of law, administrative hearings before boards & commissions; appears at administrative proceedings to provide testimony or reports as required by supervisor or pursuant to subpoena; attends professional training/seminars; conducts field training for new compliance agents; serves on committees.
Ohio State Police Officers
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is an internationally accredited agency whose mission is to protect life and property, promote traffic safety and provide professional public safety services with respect, compassion, and unbiased professionalism. The Patrol provides:
Statewide traffic services to keep our roadways safe,
Statewide emergency response services and support services to the public and the criminal justice community,
Investigation of criminal activities on state-owned and leased property throughout Ohio, and
Security for the Governor and other dignitaries.
The Patrol is a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which is administrated by a director who holds a cabinet-level position in state government. The commander of the Patrol holds the rank of Colonel and is referred to as the Superintendent. The superintendent is selected from the Patrol ranks upon the retirement or death of a predecessor.