I needed money 'cause I had none, I fought the law and the law won
FEB. 12, 2013: Our tax dollars at work:
In 2008 during an animal cruelty investigation at the Jefferson County animal shelter, Sheriff John Burns ($89,534) wanted to bring criminal charges against County Administrator Robert Hagemann III ($126,376), alleging he intimidated a witness and committed official misconduct.
District Attorney Cindy Intschert ($119,341) took the sheriff's report and promptly threw it away.
Now that we have those friendships established, let's fast forward to 2012.
* Deputy Shaun Cuddeback ($82,162) accidentally drove his car into a firefighter working at an accident scene. The driver has since sued the county.
* Deputy Jamie Taylor ($67,121) drove his car into a hydrant in the town of Pamelia, and the town has sent the county an $8,000 bill for replacing the hydrant.
* Deputy Krystal Rice ($66,112) sued the county over topless photos taken of her by Detective Steven Cote ($66,036) for a proposed online pedophile investigation. The decision to have a male detective take provocative photos of a female deputy was approved by recently retired Lt. Michael Peterson ($71,045).
* Deputy Mark Kellogg ($58,191) was suspended after being accused of punching someone at a bar.
* Jail nurse Tammy Hitchman ($26,390) resigned after being accused of violating federal law for accessing health files at Samaritan Medical Center for personal use.
* Deputy James Randall ($60,640) was suspended for fraternizing with a woman who has a criminal record.
* Recently retired Undersheriff Andrew R. Neff ($70,512), who investigated Randall's activities, is under state police investigation for allegedly doing the same thing with another woman who has an even longer rap sheet.
* Deputy Adam Hallett ($68,285) was found passed out in a county vehicle by Deputy Matthew Vaughn ($79,065), who removed a half-consumed bottle of alcohol from the vehicle and threw it away.
* Also arriving on the scene that night was Sgt. Victor Rodriguez ($80,668), who did not remind/suggest/tell/order Vaughn to bring Hallett in for a blood-alcohol content test.
* Intschert, despite the seriousness of the allegations being made against law enforcement officers, delegated a review of the actions by Hallett, Vaughn and Rodriguez to Assistant District Attorney Kristyna Mills ($85,238). Mills never told Burns to either file destruction of evidence charges against Vaughn — and maybe Rodriguez — or she would ask Intschert to file the charges herself. Mills never told Burns that if he didn't act immediately he would be facing obstruction of justice charges.
* Throughout all of this, the county legislature has been divided, with some members wanting to investigate the sheriff's department, some members not wanting to investigate the sheriff's department and some members wanting the world to stop so they can get off. Still, last month they jelled into a group that ordered county attorney David Paulsen ($103,130) to find someone to investigate the sheriff's handling of the Hallett case. After a week of research Paulsen suggested asking the state Attorney General's office to do it, which at this point ensures no action will continue to be taken.
That is until budget time, when everyone will get a pay raise.