BEND, OR (Sept. 28, 2017) -- Internal investigations continue to plague the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Shane Nelson confirms there are several ongoing cases, one involves a Lieutenant now on Administrative Leave. "That’s a very intricate investigation that took a lot of work and it was – not in a criminal aspect – but it was linked to a former captain’s investigation," Nelson tells KBND News. "So, there’s a lot of material to pour through, there."
He says investigators are also still looking into allegations involving Deputy Eric Kozowski, who ran against Nelson in the last election. "He’s on administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigations." Sheriff Nelson adds, "I can’t release specifics because I want to maintain the integrity of those investigations. But, they have to do with personnel issues and policy violations." The Sheriff asked an outside agency to look into the alleged violations in late November
, although he would not confirm how many violations there are. Kozowski was put on leave this week.
Sheriff Nelson insists the investigations are not in retaliation for Kozowski’s campaign. "When people violate our policies, or in some cases break the law, the citizens expect me to hold those folks accountable. We are in a high integrity, high liability business and so it is absolutely important our teammates follow the rules."
To hear our full conversation with Sheriff Shane Nelson, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page.
Sheriff Shane Nelson issued the following statement on October 3, 2017, regarding Dep. Kozowski's status:
"Deputy Eric Kozowski was placed on paid administrative leave last week pending the outcome of multiple Internal Affairs investigations. These investigations were conducted by outside investigators hired by the Sheriff's Office and an investigator from the District Attorney's Office. Several of these investigations stemmed from citizen complaints and several of these investigations have been active for over a year.
To ensure impartiality the Sheriff's Office does not dictate the timeline when we hire an outside investigator. Sheriff's Office Command and County Legal Counsel reviewed the investigation. As part of the Internal Affairs process, Deputy Kozowski was placed on paid administrative leave.
When the Sheriff's Office receives complaints, we look into every complaint for violations of our policy as well as adherence to our mission and values. This is what is expected by the citizens we serve and ensures transparency."