BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Deputy who ran against Sheriff Shane Nelson in 2016 was fired Wednesday. Sheriff Shane Nelson tells KBND News, "I terminated Eric Kozowski’s employment with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office based on internal investigations, which concluded that conduct by Mr. Kozowski violated Sheriff’s Office policies."
Nelson refused to release details of the investigation, saying, "Mr. Kozowski has a right to due process and I will release additional information from the investigation after the separation process is complete." Kozowski had been on paid administrative leave since September. At that time Nelson said there were several investigations
into the Deputy’s actions, stemming from citizen complaints. On Wednesday, the Sheriff said, "I expect members of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office to adhere to the mission and values of this office. We’ve had a number of people in the past who have degraded the people’s trust. I don’t want those people working here. I’m committed to the highest level of standards and professionalism within this office."
Also Wednesday, the agency announced the conclusion of an Internal Affairs investigation into Sgt. Mike Molan. Captain Michael Shults says personnel action will be taken against the Corrections Sergeant. "Our whole goal is to provide him additional training and increase supervision. And, with that, we want to make sure we ensure his future to be the best possible supervisor he can be." Capt. Shults adds, "And, with that is our hope that, with this personnel action that we ensure future success – not only for him but for how he treats our staff and the citizens within Deschutes County." Molan was placed on leave around the same time Sgt. Paul Navarro was fired
for violating policy. The disciplinary actions involving both sergeants contributed to ongoing staffing struggles at the Deschutes County Jail
. Sheriff Nelson says the department has filled
nearly all its recently created openings.