Creepy Cop Used Police Database to Look up and Harass Women
In a viral Facebook post, Emily Hackler shares screenshots of a creepy conversation she had with a cop. She writes, "So some creep decided to follow me on my way home from Planet Fitness.
"Turns out he works for the Rossford Police Department and used my plate number to figure out who I was, to message me personally and tell me how hot I was. Can you say HARASSMENT?"
Glenn Goss, Jr. found Emily on Facebook and messaged her directly that he "had fun racing" her earlier. She had no idea who he was, and in an edit to her original post, she writes, "We weren't 'racing.' I was speeding because he was following me after being stopped right next to each other at a stop light."
As their conversation progressed, Emily pressed him about how he got her name and contact information. He admitted to using her license plate number to look her up.
"It was an invasion of privacy for sure," Emily told The Blade. "He was in his personal vehicle. You're not allowed to stop or look up anyone's information without probable cause, so the fact that he was not in his official work vehicle, it got me thinking, 'How did this happen? Why did he search my plate number to get my information?' It did make me feel very uneasy."
Emily told him as much in their conversation, and then she posted the conversation to Facebook, where it went viral. The post was eventually noticed by Rossford City officials. Officer Goss was placed on administrative leave immediately.
According to one Twitter user, this wasn't the first time Goss abused his access to the database to look up and message women without their approval or consent. Taylor Garder was stopped by Goss last summer for speeding, and while he was professional during the traffic stop, he then later messaged her on Facebook.
After asking if she was in trouble, she ignored his messages and he stopped. She didn't report the incident at the time, but she saved the messages, and now that Emily has come forward with a similar story, she has reported hers to the police department as well.
"It needs to stop," Taylor told The Blade. "If it happened to me and this girl, it's happening to more. I don't feel safe and protected by these men. I feel harassed." According to Rossford Mayor Neil MacKinnon III, there is at least one more complaint of a similar nature.
When the city placed Goss on administrative leave, they initiated an investigation into the allegations. Goss resigned before the investigation was complete, but nevertheless, the city found that there were "grounds for termination and results of the investigation and termination recommendation will remain in his personnel file."
The city's administrative investigation has been handed over to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, who will begin a criminal investigation. Mayor MacKinnon said, "We wanted to take it out of the department itself. We first looked at the Wood County Sheriff to do the investigation, but Glenn, Jr., had worked there in the past, so we thought this was most transparent and generous way to do an investigation."
It does seem like the police department is taking Goss's behavior seriously, and he's no longer a cop, which is good. Rossford Police Chief Todd Kitzler said that officers do not have access to the database systems in their personal vehicles or while they are off-duty, and Mayor MacKinnon reiterated that it is against the law to use the system for personal benefit or any nonwork-related purposes.
"I'm disappointed, that's my feeling right now," he said. "But I don't want to jump to any conclusions until the investigation is done. It's a very serious allegation, and if you want my feelings, I'm disappointed."