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Columbus Police Officer Taken Off Patrol After Drunk Driving Arrest

Bodycam footage of Columbus Police officer Jay Graham being arrested by Westerville officers on March 16, 2021.
Courtesy of Westerville Police
Bodycam footage of Columbus Police officer Jay Graham being arrested by Westerville officers on March 16, 2021.

A Columbus Division of Police officer who was arrested for drunk driving while off-duty has been removed from patrol.

On March 16, a Westerville Police officer arrested Columbus Police officer Jay Graham after observing a Chevrolet pickup truck driving recklessly, sometime around after 11:30 p.m.

According to a police report from the Westerville Police, the officer began to follow Graham, whose vehicle made a quick turn southbound onto Park Meadow Road and then eastbound into a parking lot. The Westerville officer then called another officer for backup in pursuing the vehicle.

“The vehicle turned into the left lane but drifted into the center turn lane before getting back into the left lane,” the police report reads. “As the vehicle approached W. Schrock Road in front of Kroger, it drifted into the right lane without using a signal and into the bike lane.”

After pulling Graham over, the report indicates that Graham identified himself as Columbus Police to the arresting officer.

When the Westerville officer stopped Graham and asked if he’d had any alcohol, Graham said he had not. But later, according to body camera footage of the incident, Graham said he had consumed a “few” drinks, before failing several sobriety tests.

Westerville Police seized a .357 Smith and Wesson revolver — which was not Graham's on-duty weapon — as evidence. Officers also found ammunition in Graham's vehicle for his service weapon, but that gun was not found in Graham’s vehicle or on him when he was stopped.

Graham lives in Westerville and was released to a neighbor, who picked him up from the Westerville Police station.

Court records show Graham was charged with OVI in 1998, but the charge was pleaded down to reckless operation. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay a fine. Twenty-seven of those days were suspended.

Graham has been a Columbus Police officer since 2006. He has been assigned to desk duty.

Graham is scheduled to make an initial appearance in Franklin County Municipal Court on the OVI charge April 13.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.