Cleaning up SCSO: 2nd deputy accused of misconduct

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on March 25, 2014 at 6:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 25 at 7:50 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.—A  deputy with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is accused of frequenting a woman’s West Plains home while on duty. Tuesday, KREM 2 News asked Spokane County Sheriff how he plans on dealing with his troubled employees because the deputy is the second one in two weeks accused of misconduct.

Officials said they received a tip that Deputy Todd Saunders was frequently at a home in the West Plains area while he was supposed to be on duty with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. KREM 2 News learned that Saunders has had problems in his law enforcement career before.

Officials said they received the tip about Saunders from a neighbor.   

READ: Deputy's stops at West Plains home spark investigation

Saunders has worked at four different police agencies in the Spokane area over the course of his career. That includes working for the Spokane Police Department. KREM 2 News learned Saunders’ stint on SPD’s payroll was brief. Officials said he never made it off probation.

The Sheriff sent a clear message to his department on Tuesday. He told them to stop breaking the rules or they pay the price.

“These types of situations are what cause a lack of trust with us and the public,” said Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.

The Sheriff described the allegations against Saunders as very serious.

“We do hold our employees to the highest standard possible,” said Knezovich.

Saunders is accused of spending hours of on duty time with a woman inside her West Plains home. It led to an Internal Affairs investigation.

It is Saunders’ first time in the Internal Affairs hot seat but it is not his first issue in his law enforcement career.

Records show Saunders worked for the Spokane Police Department prior to crossing over for a Sheriff’s badge. Saunders patrolled the City streets from January to December of 2009 but he never made it off the probation period.

The Sheriff said he wants the public to know that he is doing everything he can to clean up his department.

“We hold people accountable, You'd think after eight years people would get a clue that you don't do this stuff on my watch,” said Knezovich.

The Sheriff said it is not always a red flag if a deputy or officer does not make it off probation in a large agency. He said sometimes it is just too busy or too crazy and they just need smaller department experience before they are ready.

 

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