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2 Columbus police officers arrested, facing charges of misconduct, ghost employment

Lt. Dan Meister (left) and Sgt. Ron May have been arrested and are facing charges of official misconduct, ghost employment and theft. The two are police officers at the Columbus Police Department. (Provided Photo/Indiana State Police)

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — Two Columbus police officers have been arrested on multiple charges including official misconduct and ghost employment.

According to Indiana State Police, Dan Meister and Ron May were arrested for allegedly working off-duty security jobs while also working on duty with the Columbus Police Department. An investigation into the officers began in November 2018 after a request was made by the Columbus Police Department.

Lt. Dan Meister and Sgt. Ron May allegedly worked overlapping shifts for both the police department and Columbus Regional Hospital between February 2015 and August 2018. The officers were paid by CPD and the hospital for the same hours worked on multiple occasions.

Meister had overlapped hours on 52 different occasions and May overlapped on 62 occasions, investigators say.

The investigation was turned over to a special prosecutor and arrest warrants were issued for the men on Friday. They were arrested Friday afternoon without incident and taken to the Bartholomew County Jail, police say.

Both officers are facing charges of official misconduct, ghost employment and theft.

May and Meister are expected to face initial hearings soon.

A spokesperson for the police department said an internal investigation was launched before ISP was asked to intervene. May retired from the department before disciplinary action could be sought against him. Lt. Meister was also demoted to patrol officer before eventually being assigned to a non-law enforcement role.

Before the criminal investigation was completed, Meister announced his retirement from the department in November 2019. Meister is still listed as an employee with the department due to accrued personal time and benefits. Meister repaid an amount of $4,110.35 for the costs of the special investigation and compensation he was paid from the city while working for another employer.

“In all circumstances our officers are held to the highest of standards, and are expected to uphold and follow the law,” said CPD Chief Michael Richardson in a press release. “We will hold our officers accountable to these high standards so that every member of the public can maintain confidence in the officers who serve them.”

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