COLUMBUS, Ohio — A firefighter with the Columbus Division of Fire was one of more than 200 arrested as part of a statewide anti-human trafficking operation that resulted in the recovery of 10 missing children.
Andrew Bartnikowski was arrested on Sept. 27 and charged with counts of engaging in prostitution.
Court records show Bartnikowski responded to an online advertisement to pay for sex, engaging in multiple messages and calls. On the day of his arrest, Bartnikowski arrived at a hotel room where he was met by undercover officers posing as prostitutes.
He was one of 161 people arrested for seeking to purchase sex as part of the week-long operation. Of those people, three sought to buy sex from minors, and 50 more were arrested for offering to sell sex. The operation also resulted in the recovery of 10 children previously reported missing.
Bartnikowski has been working with the Columbus Division of Fire Station 10 in Franklinton.
Battalion Chief Steve Martin released the following statement following word of Bartnikowski's arrest:
"We have been made aware of criminal allegations against one of our members. The Divison of Fire works very hard to make sure the women and men we employ are trusted without question by the public we serve when we respond to calls for assistance.
"The charges against this firefighter are disappointing and not acceptable by our division standards. The member named will be given due process through the criminal court system as well as face an administration investigation to determine rules and regulations violations. Any division charges or discipline will be a result of that investigation."
Also among those arrested in the statewide operation were a Cleveland-area city council member, a teacher, a professor and a pilot. You can learn more here.