corruption

Incumbent Sheriff Dean Wilson

OPINION PIECE BY DONNA WESTFALL

May 31, 2014 – I attended Wilson’s kick-off party for his campaign held at the Lighthouse Inn.  I received his sheet on the statistics showing drops in all areas of crime.  I was impressed. Three hours were spent interviewing him and multiple emails sent back and forth. Interviews of other candidates and members of the public refined my impressions about our Sheriff.

Understanding that budget constraints, turnover in the Sheriff’s Department, oftentimes being baby sitters for those in jail, changes in the law are among the problems and more that any Sheriff has to face:

The consensus is that Wilson is not a good leader. He either approves of or turns a blind eye to actions considered by reliable sources including those in law enforcement to be both unethical and illegal by his deputies and detectives.

Things like former Officer Garcia crossing the line from stealing from criminals or suspects to stealing from victims and his neighbor apparently is apparently not an exception to the rule.  Complaints by the public against officers Steven, Morris and Fleshman have been made but not heard by our Sheriff or not written up by staff.  People like local Lenda Beck, head of the Watch Dogs,  and others pointed out that even a wedding ring was taken while a man lay dying in his hospital bed.

Based on a reliable source, instead of evidence being held in the “evidence” room,  evidence in Morris’ residence still had evidence tags affixed.

I have heard from more than one reliable source that when Sheriff’s Deputies and Detectives go into a home during search and seizure they act like kids in a candy store.  Again the same three. four or five names are repeated.  Morris, Steven, Fleshman, Griffin and Barber.  They go in and divvy up who is going to get what from the evidence seized. And, they do it within hearing of the victim.

In our email exchange dated April 7th:

Donna Westfall question:

Here are some of the complaints I keep hearing over and over again regarding

Richard Griffin, Bill Stevens, Ed Fleshman and Bob Barber :  

 1.)  Overly aggressive, yelling obscenities in peoples faces.  2.)  Enjoys bashing in doors (even in one case when the front door was unlocked) 3.) obtaining medical records illegally 4.) Threatening to “blow your brains out” with gun in hand. 5.) stealing property 6.) obtaining warrants illegally claiming CI’s when there is none, and 7.) doing illegal search and seizures.

Sheriff Wilson’s answer:

 “As we talked about the aggressive and yelling I can agree that it has happened, but I do not approve.  They have kicked in many doors over the years, but on search warrants for drugs.  I am sure during search warrants that a threat of being shot while being held at gun point has happened, but it usually occurs if someone is not responding to commands.  There have been no complaints filed into our office on any case for theft, illegal searches or using false CI information.  anyone claiming such has a way of dealing with these issues in court or through our office.”

I’ve talked with citizens that have attempted to make complaints with the Sheriff’s office, but they were not taken and people of the public were treated rudely.

Donna Westfall question:

2.) Steve Morris, recently retired; Embezzled about $6,000 under Maready’s regime.  Was given a choice of retirement or prosecution…. chose retirement but was then rehired by you. Head of the drug task force, but considered “dirty” by some in the community….including some LE. (LE = Law enforcement)

Wilson’s answer:

“I am not sure where you get this one, but it is false from start to finish.  The reason why I place him back into service was his ethics and moral center, which is critical in handling drug investigations.” 

We have quite a dichotomy.

When I hear quotes by our Sheriff regarding our 2nd Amendment rights that include, “I would never make a criminal out of anyone over firearms laws” then hear about the Dave Egan story, we have a dichotomy. (See BlackHawk Pistol story Part 1 published April 29, 2014.)

True he is fiercely loyal to his men.

Donna Westfall question:

I know you are very protective of your men. 

 Sheriff Wilson’s answer:

Not if they are dirty, break policy or commit a crime. 

Donna Westfall statement:

The problem I see is that some of your men may not be worthy of being on the force if this is the way they do business and if the reports I’m getting are indeed true. 

If they’re sworn to uphold the constitution and protect the public and they’re not doing their job; then they don’t deserve to wear a badge and get paid to abuse the public’s trust.

I want you to be the best sheriff possible.  I want to be able to feel I can endorse you 100%.  BUT, if you know you have to clean house and you’re not doing it, then all I can conclude is that you encourage and condone this type of behavior of your officers.

Please provide clarification asap.  

Sheriff Wilson’s response:

“Be very careful not to propagate lies or pass on statements without proof or facts to back it up.  We investigate all complaints against staff and those we can and have proven were arrested and charged.” 

There are always two sides to every story.  I encourage those of the public and those in law enforcement to come forward and tell their side of the story because the Sheriff position is an important office.

My conclusion; I cannot endorse Wilson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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