NewsLEX 18 Investigates


Former KSP officer sentenced to prison in federal gun conspiracy case

Posted at 5:21 PM, Jan 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-25 18:52:47-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Former Kentucky State Police Lt. Col. Mike Crawford was sentenced Wednesday to eight months in prison.

Crawford was found guilty in August of conspiring to defraud the United States, a charge that stemmed from an accusation of unlawfully taking surplus guns from KSP. The alleged conspiracy involved former Scott County coroner John Goble, who pleaded guilty in his federal case.

Crawford’s attorneys asked Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove to sentence him to probation or home incarceration. But Van Tatenhove ultimately decided that probation would not provide just punishment for the crime.

Van Tatenhove did decide to give Crawford less time in prison than the recommended 15 to 21 months, citing the former KSP officer’s record and character.

Crawford’s attorney, Jarrod Beck, said at the sentencing that Crawford is a “unique defendant” and that his life is “almost like an advertisement for public service.”

Multiple former KSP officers wrote letters praising Crawford and asking Van Tatenhove to show him leniency.

In a sentencing memorandum filed by Crawford’s attorneys, it stated that “straw purchases of KSP weapons were very common.” despite the fact troopers were “only permitted to purchase weapons previously assigned to them on active duty.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Smith argued that the fact such conduct was seen as “common practice” was reason for Crawford to face a sentence that would deter other law enforcement officials.

“Probation just says ‘everyone does it and you will get away with it,” Smith said.

Smith said that there’s a culture of protecting one another within KSP, calling it an “old boys club.”

The federal jury that convicted Crawford of the count related to unlawfully taking the guns was unable to reach a verdict on another count related to an allegation of unlawfully taking KSP ammunition.

Crawford is ordered to report for his prison sentence on April 18.