Former Shawnee detective indicted

Sep. 19—SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — A former Shawnee Township detective and school resource officer is facing criminal charges following an external investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation into allegations about the former resource officer's social media activity.

An Allen County grand jury indicted Jeremy Shellenbarger Thursday on two counts of pandering sexually-oriented matter involving a minor or impaired person, both fourth-degree felonies, and two counts of illegal use of a minor or impaired person in nudity-oriented material or performance, each fifth-degree felonies. Shellenbarger pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Shellenbarger, who had been on paid administrative leave, resigned the following day.

The alleged incident occurred last September while Shellenbarger was serving as a school resource officer for the Apollo Career Center, according to the indictment and a press release from the Shawnee Township Police Department, which said the department received a complaint about Shellenbarger in December.

Personnel records show Chief Robert Kohli placed Shellenbarger on paid administrative leave in December due to "the severity of the criminal accusations posed against" him.

Kohli asked for BCI to conduct a criminal investigation to "ensure to our community and our officers that this case would be conducted by an outside entity, in a transparent manner, and fair to everyone involved," he said in a prepared statement last week.

Kohli initiated an internal investigation as well, but Shellenbarger resigned amid the final stages of the investigation, according to the release.

The state-appointed special prosecutor Eva Yarger to handle Shellenbarger's criminal case, which is currently assigned to Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed.

Shellenbarger joined the Shawnee Township Police Department as a part-time officer in 2008.

He became a full-time officer in 2011, working various assignments as a patrolman, firearms instructor, backup evidence room custodian, school resource officer and, in the final months of his tenure, as a detective.

Personnel records show Shellenbarger was reprimanded on several occasions during his 15 years with the department, including a 2015 high-speed chase in which Shellenbarger reportedly struck a cone and accelerated to 118 miles per hour while pursuing a suspect wanted for misdemeanor traffic violations.

In another incident, Shellenbarger's supervisors verbally reprimanded him for cracking the windshield of his department-issued cruiser when he threw his cell phone onto the dashboard "in frustration," records show.

And in yet another, Shellenbarger's supervisors reprimanded him for reportedly making unprofessional and demeaning comments toward dispatchers, records show.

Still, Shellenbarger's performance reviews are mostly positive, and he was promoted to detective last October.

An October Facebook post promoting Shellenbarger's new role with the department said Shellenbarger built "great relationships with staff and students" as a resource officer for Apollo Career Center.

"As much as he enjoyed that role," the post said, "we are excited to see him step into the Detective Bureau."