Six New Corrections Deputies Sworn in at Jail

Six new corrections deputies have been sworn-in at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office in an ongoing effort to bring the jail back up to full staffing. Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan had the chance to talk with some of the new deputies this week.

If you’re interested in applying for a position with the sheriff’s office, they say they are looking for individuals with high quality work ethic, unblemished character and excellent communication skills among others. You can check out their job opportunities and apply online at www.deschutes.org/ jobs.

Increased Enforcement for Marijuana Grows

County Commissioners Hoping to Add Two New Enforcement Positions

After months of discussion with state, county and city officials the Deschutes County Commissioners made a first step today in addressing the ongoing issues with marijuana enforcement and regulations in Deschutes County.

County staff confirmed today that they will be looking into the hiring and funding of two new law enforcement positions as part of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team, known as CODE.
This was an idea proposed and supported by both County Commissioners and Bend City Councilors at a joint meeting held last week.

While CODE serves a tri-county area, these two positions would focus solely on enforcement in Deschutes County. The cost of hiring will likely be split, one going to the City of Bend for a police officer position and one would be a deputy sheriff position paid for by Deschutes County.

Commissioners also discussed raising the applications fees for marijuana grows in order to cover the cost of the extra time and effort county staff to deal with the complicated applications and the appeals that often follow.

Commissioners also floated the idea of putting a temporary pause on the processing of marijuana applications in order to clarify and fill in gaps in the current county code, but they are expected discuss those ideas in depth next week.

Addiction in Central Oregon

Representative Walden Discusses Drug Issues in Central Oregon

Representative Greg Walden was in Madras today to discuss substance abuse and addiction in Jefferson County and found that opioids are not as big a problem as other drugs in that area. 
Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan was there for the roundtable discussion

You can reach out to Representative Walden’s office with any questions or feedback on any of the upcoming anti-opioid proposals before Congress by contacting Nolan Hern at Nolan.hern@gmail.house.gov or at 202-224-6730.

Tree Well Warnings After Deaths on Mt Bachelor

How to Avoid Dangerous Situations on the Mountain

Mt. Bachelor officials say they are putting a priority on warning skiers and snowboarders about the dangers of tree wells after the deaths of two people in separate incidents on the mountain last Friday. 
Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan takes a closer look at the accidents that claimed the lives of two young Oregonians.

Mt. Bachelor officials, as well as those who have experienced being trapped in a tree well, say that one of the safest things that you can do to avoid dangerous situations on the mountain is to have someone skiing or snowboarding with you, especially is you are making a run near the trees.

Student Arrested for School Threats

15-Year Old Arrested After Making Threats Against La-Pine High School

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Oregon deputies arrested a 15-year old boy on Wednesday for making threats against La-Pine High School. 
The student who made the threats is in custody at the Deschutes County Juvenile Justice Facility facing three counts of disorderly conduct.
Authorities say that a student approached a school resource officer at La Pine High School around 7:30 this morning to tell the officer of the threat.
The deputy was able to locate and remove the suspect and found out that this was not the first time that the 15-year-old had made threats against the school.
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Deputies will provide an increased presence at all of La-Pine’s schools on Thursday.

Deschutes Sheriff Reaches Settlement with Lieutenant Leak

A lieutenant with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has reached a settlement and will retire after nearly two years of paid administrative leave.

Lt. Tim Leak was placed on paid administrative leave due to unspecified conduct violations. Deschutes County Sheriff L. Shane Nelson said that the allegations that placed Leak on leave were not criminal but did not comment specifically on the nature of the violations.

Since he was placed on leave in May of 2016, Leak has been paid roughly $238,000 and Sheriff Nelson called the settlement and separation agreement a “business decision,” meant to save the department and the tax payers money in the long run.

 

Kozowski Files Complaint in Court

Eric Kozowski Filed a Complaint Citing Wrongful Discharge and Retaliation

Former Deschutes County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Kozowski filed a complaint in the District Court today. He is seeking $3,400,000 in economic damages as well as non-economic and punitive damages.

The complaint from Kozowski alleges that his termination was retaliation against his use of his first amendment rights. Specifically when Kozowski ran against Nelson for Sheriff in a 2016 election.

Kozowski was fired on Jan. 31 by Sheriff L. Shane Nelson based on internal investigations which concluded that Kozowski violated Sheriff’s Office policies.

Kozowski was placed on paid administrative leave on September 24, 2017 due to allegations from 2010 and 2016. Kozowski allegedly failed to take a report in 2010 and failed to arrest a wanted suspect in 2016.

Kozowski Fired from Deschutes County Sheriff

Deputy Eric Kozowski was fired on Wednesday by Sheriff L. Shane Nelson based on internal investigations which concluded that  Kozowski violated Sheriff’s Office policies.

Kozowski was placed on paid administrative leave on September 24, 2017 due to allegations from 2010 and 2016. Kozowski allegedly failed to take a report in 2010 and failed to arrest a wanted suspect in 2016.

Kozowski challenged Sheriff Nelson for his position in the 2016 election.

In a press release Sheriff Nelson stated, “I expect members of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office to adhere to the mission and values of this office. I will continue to enforce the highest standards of professionalism and conduct at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.”

Kozowski’s lawyer, Michael McGean, released a statement just after the Sheriff’s Office announced Kozowski’s termination. In his statement McGean maintains that the investigation, and now termination, of Kozowski was retaliatory.

“Deputy Kozowski’s termination is clearly retaliation for exercising his constitutional rights of free speech and political participation in running against Sheriff Nelson,” said McGean. “That retaliation and the Sheriff’s violations of State and Federal law will be the subject of a lawsuit that will be filed shortly in the federal court of Oregon.”

The investigation into the allegations against Kozowski were opened after he announced his candidacy for Sheriff in March 2016.

McGean also said Kozowski was fired for an alleged violation pertaining to the wearing of Sheriff’s Office uniforms for campaign related activity, not the failure to write a report or arrest a suspect as was stated in the Sheriff’s Office statement.

Remembering Kaylee: The Life And Legacy Of Kaylee Sawyer

It’s been an emotional week for the friends and family of Kaylee Sawyer as they came face-to-face with her killer in a Deschutes County courtroom before he was sentenced to life in prison for her murder.

Kaylee’s father and stepmother sit down with Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan for the first time since Kaylee’s death to talk about her life, legacy, and how they’re keeping her memory alive.

DOJ Puts Pressure on Sanctuary Cities

On Wednesday 23 jurisdictions, including Oregon State, received letters from the U.S. Department of Justice asking for documents to prove that they are cooperating with immigration authorities and threatening to pull public safety grants.

The letters are part of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ promised crackdown on sanctuary cities and states.

“I continue to urge all jurisdictions under review to reconsider policies that place the safety of their communities and their residents at risk,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a press release from the DOJ (Department of Justice). “Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law. We have seen too many examples of the threat to public safety represented by jurisdictions that actively thwart the federal government’s immigration enforcement—enough is enough.”

The letter sent to Michael Schmidt, the Executive Director of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission,  warned that the DOJ could use subpoena power to force them to provide documents showing they aren’t withholding information about the immigration status of people in custody.

Similar letters were sent to cities like Chicago, New York, Denver and Los Angeles, and the states of Illinois and California. DOJ officials said the 23 jurisdictions have been previously warned they need to provide information about their policies to be receive grants.

According to the DOJ website, jurisdictions who refuse to turnover documents, or whose policies are deemed counter to federal immigration laws, may be forced to return federal grant dollars from a 2016 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant and may be deemed ineligible for a 2017 Byrne Grant.

The Byrne Justice Assistance Grant is a memorial grant and is the leading source of federal justice funding for state and local jurisdictions. The grant provides states, tribes and local governments across the U.S. with funding for target community specific law enforcement needs.

Oregon was allocated $3,099,650 through the grant for 2016.

Sanctuary cities, counties, and states are jurisdictions with laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions or policies that prohibited local law enforcement agencies from complying with ICE detainers and denying ICE access to interview incarcerated undocumented immigrants.

In Oregon this means an undocumented immigrant that has committed a crime in a sanctuary jurisdiction would be penalized for that crime but would not be detained due to their undocumented status. It also means local and state law enforcement will not assist immigration officials in locating or apprehending people due to their undocumented status.

Relying on local law enforcement to detain undocumented immigrants is the primary tool used by ICE to gain custody for deportations.

In response to the letter, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said in tweet, “Oregon will not be bullied by a Trump Administration that’s focused on diving our country. Oregon’s laws are in place to uphold the civil rights of all Oregonians. The federal government cannot, under the US Constitution, force state law enforcement officers to implement its policies.”

Here’s is the full letter written to Oregon from the DOJ:

Dear Director Schmidt:

Thank you for your response to our November 15, 2017, letter regarding your jurisdiction’s compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, a federal law with which your jurisdiction must comply as an eligibility requirement for receiving Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) funding from the Department of Justice (Department or DOJ). After reviewing your response, the Department remains concerned that your jurisdiction’s laws, policies, or practices may violate section 1373, or, at a minimum, that they may be interpreted or applied in a manner inconsistent with section 1373.

In light of these concerns, the Department is requesting certain documents as described below. This request is made consistent with 2 CFR § 200.336, as adopted by Department regulation 2 CFR § 2800.101. In your FY 2016 Byrne JAG award, you agreed to the following (listed as special condition #23):

[The recipient agrees to] cooperate with [the Bureau of Justice Assistance (“BJA”)] and [Office of the Chief Financial Officer (“OCFO”)] on all grant monitoring requests…. The recipient [also] agrees to provide to BJA and OCFO all documentation necessary to complete monitoring tasks, including documentation related to any subawards made under this award. Further, the recipient agrees to abide by reasonable deadlines set by BJA and OCFO for providing the requested documents. Failure to cooperate with BJA’s/OCFO’s grant monitoring activities may result in sanctions affecting the recipient’s DOJ awards, including but not limited to withholdings and/or other restrictions on the recipient’s access to grant funds; referral to the Office of the Inspector General for audit review; designation of the recipient as a DOJ High Risk grantee; or termination of an award(s).

Please respond to the below request by providing to Chris Casto, BJA, at Chris.Casto@usdoj.gov by no later than February 23, 2018, all responsive documents, consistent with the instructions in Attachment A.

Documents Requested: All documents reflecting any orders, directives, instructions, or guidance to your law enforcement employees (including, but not limited to, police officers, correctional officers, and contract employees), whether formal or informal, that were distributed, produced, and/or in effect during the relevant timeframe, regarding whether and how these employees may, or may not, communicate with the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or their agents, whether directly or indirectly.

BJA will review your submissions and seek additional information, if necessary. The Department fully anticipates your complete cooperation in this matter. Should you fail to respond in a complete and timely manner, the Department will subpoena these documents in accordance with 34 U.S.C. §§ 10225, 10221, 10230, 10151 – 10158, 10102(a)(6), 10110, and 10110 note.

These materials are critical to our ongoing review. Should the Department determine your jurisdiction is out of compliance with section 1373, the Department may, as detailed in your award documents, seek return of your FY 2016 grant funds, require additional conditions for receipt of any FY 2017 Byrne JAG funding for which you have applied, and/or deem you ineligible for FY 2017 Byrne JAG funds.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this request. We look forward to working through this matter with you. Any specific questions concerning this request can be sent to directly to Tracey Trautman, BJA Deputy Director, at Tracey.Trautman@usdoj.gov or call (202) 305-1491.”