Former WPD auxiliary cop, ‘minuteman’ pleads guilty

By Catherine Gabe -

A Pickerington man who was once a Wellington auxiliary police officer has pleaded guilty to improper handling of a firearm.

Other charges, including impersonating a police officer when he flashed a badge and his ID identifying him as part of the unit, were dropped.

Russell Aikman, 34, got into an altercation with another customer July 12 in the drive-through lane of a Taco Bell in Pickerington when he pulled his weapon, a Glock 9mm.

Officers arrived at the scene, interviewed witnesses, and seized the gun, which had a live round in it.

Aikman’s permit to carry a concealed weapon was expired. He showed a badge and an ID indicating he was with the Wellington auxiliary unit, and had been since 2006.

“Dispatch advised that Russell did have a CCW permit but that it was expired,” the police report reads. “I told Russell that it was expired and he advised that he knew it was. I asked him why he was carrying and he pulled out a Wellington, Ohio, auxiliary police officer’s badge and ID.”

Police investigated but found Aikman wasn’t with the Wellington police.

When officers asked for the name of the Wellington chief of police, Aikman said “Rollins,” referring to former chief Steve Rollins, who retired the prior year.

They also discovered the suspect was part of the North West Minutemen militia group and a member of other militia-related sites, the report said.

Eventually, it was revealed Aikman was a member of the Wellington police auxiliary unit about 10 years ago, but “nobody remembered him at all,” said auxiliary police Capt. Lawrence Querin.

Aikman only attended four meetings over two years. The auxiliary now requires members attend at least six meetings a year, in part because of this case, Querin said.

Falsification and aggravated menacing charges were also dismissed. Wellington police are going to pursue charges against Aikman for theft of a badge, said police chief Tim Barfield.

-Catherine Gabe can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @ReporterGabe on Twitter.

By Catherine Gabe