Patrolman Jason M. Knight stands accused of illegally soliciting prescription drugs

Dover police arrested one of their own officers Oct. 22 and charged him with attempting to illegally purchase prescription pain killers on 12 separate occasions over a three-week period, including at least once when he was on duty, in uniform and driving his marked patrol car.

In court documents, police say after he was arrested Patrolman Jason M. Knight, 28, of Dover, confessed that he had indeed illegally solicited prescription narcotics from several local drug dealers in recent weeks.

The charges against Knight hinge on evidence gleaned from his cell phone records, which police obtained from the service provider via a search warrant, according to an affidavit filed with Justice of the Peace Court No. 7 in Dover.

Police allege that Knight sent numerous text messages to drug dealers and made arrangements to buy several 30- and 80-miligram doses of the prescription painkiller Oxycodone between Sept. 29 and Oct. 20.

Sworn police testimony indicates some of the deals allegedly went down at a residence in the Greens of Wyoming housing development on Westville Road in Wyoming, where Knight is accused of picking up drugs from a garden hose storage box that doubled as a drop site.

Based on statements from an officer who was following Knight, police suspect that on the morning of Oct. 18 Knight retrieved drugs from the drop site while on duty and in uniform.

Some of the text messages quoted by police in court documents seem to illustrate an addiction to prescription painkillers. In an Oct. 3 message, Knight allegedly told his drug dealer he was “hurting today,” and though he was trying to quit, he needed the drugs. A day later, police say Knight texted “I am 3 days cold Turkey hurting!”

Knight, who had been on the job for six months, was placed on administrative leave without pay and released on a $12,000 unsecured bond following his arrest. A preliminary heraing in the case is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 29.

Dover Police Capt. Tim Stump said Knight was hired in October of last year, completed his police academy training in the spring and was working in the patrol division without a partner.

Knight passed a background check given to all new officers, Stump said, and had a clean job performance record during his short tenure on the force.

"Days like these are never pleasant, but it does come with the job," Stump said. "Over the years these types of things happen and we do our best to police them."

Dover Police Chief James Hosfelt said he couldn’t release details related to how Knight became a subject of a drug investigation. That information, he said, is related to ongoing investigations.

He also said Knight won’t be treated differently than any other suspect.

“Police officers aren’t any different than any other members of society; they make mistakes like anybody else,” he said. “When they make mistakes they’re held to a much higher standard than everybody else, because of the public trust…Jason Knight will answer to his mistakes.”

A person who answered the phone at an address listed under Knight’s name said Knight would not comment on the charges.

Knight’s attorney, Chuck Whitehurst, said his client is innocent until proven guilty.