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Indiana Ex-Trooper Charged in Ticket Forgery

INDIANAPOLIS

A former Indiana State Police trooper is accused of forging tickets to boost his performance numbers, leading to the wrongful suspension of dozens of driver's licenses.

Heath M. Kerns, 35, of Roachdale, faces charges of forgery, perjury and official misconduct.

According to the probable cause affidavit, between March and July 2010, Kerns wrote 43 phony tickets and warnings while working out of the Putnamville state police post.

"Kerns' believed intent was to increase his traffic enforcement activity statistics to the Indiana State Police, which he consistently had trouble maintaining as reflected in his performance appraisals," according to the probable cause affidavit.

Investigators said Kerns never filed the tickets with the court, but they made it into the system because the Brownsburg Town Court automatically downloads traffic tickets assigned to their jurisdiction.

The phony tickets results in the suspension of 43 driver's licenses for failure to appear in court.

In one case, a man nearly lost his job as a truck driver because his employer believed his license had been suspended after Kerns issued a citation for a moving violation to a motorist he never stopped, investigators said.

"White Kerns' actions did not result in monetary loss for any motorist, it is important to note that his actions had potentially severe, unintended consequences that affected each motorist," the probable cause stated.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Kerns declined to be interviewed by police, but he denied the allegations to his superiors, blaming the incorrect tickets on a computer mistake.

State police said all driving records had been corrected.

Kerns currently works for the Airport Police Department at Indianapolis International. An airport representative said Kerns had been placed on leave pending the results of the investigation.

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