Charges Dropped in Alleged Road Rage Incident

An alleged road rage incident in Bend last week, that made national headlines, took a surprising turn on Monday, when Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel announced that he is dropping the charges against the man originally accused of attacking two women during an altercation in southwest Bend, following a traffic dispute in downtown Bend.

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.