The Allen County Ethics Commission wants information from police who took part in a traffic stop this spring that prompted a conflict-of-interest complaint against the sheriff and a county councilman.
The three-member ethics panel voted 2-1 Monday to send questions about the June 2 traffic stop, which involved Sheriff Ken Fries and Councilman Paul Moss, to three police officers who were at the scene.
The complaint, filed by a former county employee, alleges Fries and Moss, both Republicans, broke county ethics rules by speaking on the phone while Moss waited to take a blood-alcohol test that never actually occurred.
Both Fries and Moss have filed written responses to the complaint, with their attorneys arguing that Moss did not get any special treatment as a result of the sheriff's involvement.
But ethics commission member Tom Hardin, a Fort Wayne attorney, said he wanted information from the police before settling the complaint. Wendy Stein agreed with Hardin, while Tom Ryan, a former Allen Circuit Court judge, dissented.
The panel members will submit their questions by Monday, with an Oct. 9 deadline for the police officers to respond. The commission will meet again Oct. 29 to continue the investigation.
Ryan said he did not believe the commission had the authority to question police officers on the traffic stop. He also argued that the panel had no authority over Fries or Moss, both elected officials.
"There is no evidence that this commission should go any further with this investigation," Ryan said.
The commission also voted 2-1 that the county's ethics ordinance gives it authority over Fries and Moss because, even as elected officials, they are considered county employees.
Fries's attorney, Don Swanson, said the investigation would not turn up any evidence of wrongdoing.
"In our response, we stated unequivocally that no favors were granted and no favors were asked for," Swanson said.
Neither Fries not Moss attended the panel's meeting Monday. Former City Councilman Tim Pape, an attorney with Carson Boxberger, is representing Moss in the investigation.