By Myers Reece, 1-27-12
||Caption: Beacon file photo
Lake County Undersheriff Karey Reynolds has announced his resignation amid a series of allegations of misconduct involving the sheriff’s office, including an ongoing state Department of Justice perjury investigation into Reynolds.
In a Jan. 27 statement provided to the Beacon
, Lake County Sheriff Jay Doyle confirmed Reynolds’ resignation but did not give a reason.
“I regret to announce that I have recently received and accepted a resignation letter from Undersheriff Karey Reynolds,” Doyle said. “I would like to thank Undersheriff Reynolds for his dedicated service to the citizens of Lake County over the past year.”
Doyle, who selected Reynolds for the position after winning the sheriff’s election in November 2010, said Dan Yonkin will be appointed as the new undersheriff on Feb. 14.
“I am confident that Dan’s 12 years of experience in the law enforcement field will assist him in doing an excellent job as Lake County Undersheriff,” Doyle said.
According to the Missoula Independent
, Reynolds said his resignation was tied to “restructuring of the (sheriff’s) office” and had nothing to do with the state investigation.
The Department of Justice announced in December that it is investigating two separate complaints into the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. One complaint accuses Reynolds of perjury for allegedly misrepresenting his law experience in a search warrant he applied for, according to Department of Justice spokesman John Doran.
“We are pursuing the allegation from a criminal standpoint and nothing changes by Mr. Reynolds resigning as undersheriff,” Doran said on Jan. 27.
Last year, the Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) required Reynolds to complete the Montana Law Enforcement Academy’s 12-week basic training course in Helena after determining that his last verifiable law enforcement employment was 2000, which far exceeded the allowed 36-month gap in service.
The state Department of Justice investigation is also looking into an allegation that Doyle instructed a deputy not to investigate an incident in Ronan. Doyle requested the state’s involvement in both complaints because he believed it was appropriate for an outside agency to investigate complaints dealing with his own department, Doran said.
A previous Department of Justice investigation into the sheriff’s office was turned over to Lake County attorney’s office last year. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has an ongoing poaching investigation involving law enforcement officers in Lake County, while POST has multiple ethics investigations open that could lead to some officers losing their law certification, including Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Duryee and Ronan Police Chief Dan Wadsworth.
Through its investigations, POST has found, among other allegations of misconduct, that Duryee lied about his military record for more than a decade and was granted inappropriate authority based on his falsified military experience. Whether the current POST investigation involves those same allegations is unclear. Wadsworth is accused of falsifying documents.
A joint bipartisan committee of the Montana Legislature called the Law and Justice Interim Committee has indicated it plans to formally address the allegations at a future meeting.
In a statement announcing his resignation, as reported in the Missoula Independent
, Reynolds was critical of the allegations, though he reiterated that they played no role in his decision to leave the job.
“It is no secret that the Sheriff Office is going through a difficult time,” Reynolds said in the statement provided to the Independent
. “Rumors of officer wrongdoing continue to be rehashed despite the fact that the election is long past and that, like Elvis, previous administrations have left the building. I am greatly saddened to see that the reputations of the outstanding men and women who protect and serve the people of Lake County have been damaged through the spiteful mud-slinging of an unhappy minority who have allowed their personal agendas to ride roughshod over their loyalty and good sense.”
Reynolds said his primary reason for resigning is that he is “no longer the best man for the job.” He said when he first accepted the position he had the requisite skills and qualifications to perform the job.
“However, over the past months, it has become increasingly clear to me that the office would be better served if the position of undersheriff were restructured,” he said. “Part of this restructuring would require an undersheriff with much stronger skills and experience in human resources than I currently possess.”
Reynolds noted that Yonkin “possesses the necessary skills” and “it is my belief that he will do an excellent job for the people of Lake County.”
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[End of article]