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Over twenty percent of deputies Klamath County, Oregon recently asked to be put on leave after Sheriff Frank Skrah was accused of punching a handcuffed suspect.
The Oregonian reported that the Oregon Department of Justice confirmed on Monday that Skrah was under investigation for use of excessive force. At the same time, seven of the county’s 30 deputies had been granted requests for “non-disciplinary” paid leave.
“The Klamath County Board of County Commissioners today confirmed that over the last four days, Klamath County has placed seven deputies on non-disciplinary paid administrative leave, per their requests,” the county said in a press release. [Source]
originally posted by: ~Lucidity
a reply to: 0zzymand0s
Yeah...you have a point. There's a niggling question in my mind about the politics and the method they chose and which way would have made the greater impact here. But there's a lot we don't know about the situation...such as have they made complaints before, have they considered the method you suggest. For all we know the DA is his brother. I'm just not sure how all this works at the level of government in this particular situation.
The Klamath County Board of Commissioners has requested that Sheriff Frank Skrah go on voluntary administrative leave while the Oregon Department of Justice investigates the department.
“We believe it would be best for his office, best for community safety, and best for Sheriff Skrah, if he would go on administrative leave until the DOJ matter is resolved,” Klamath County Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris said in a release Wednesday evening.
The request came a day after seven Klamath deputies asked to be put on administrative leave from their jobs. Eugene attorney Becky Gallagher, who represents the Klamath County Peace Officers Association, said the deputies requested to be placed on leave because they feared retaliation from Skrah. Gallagher said the deputies were interviewed by the Oregon Department of Justice as part of an investigation of Skrah.
“There were concerns about workplace harassment and retaliation by the sheriff,” said Gallagher. “So for their safety we sought protective leave. They county agreed and those deputies who requested were placed on paid administrative leave.”
The county board said it believes if Skrah took leave, the deputies would return to their posts. Gallagher said that the DOJ is conducting a criminal investigation into Skrah’s conduct. The DOJ would not confirm that and did not provide details about the case.
Klamath County Asks Sheriff Frank Skrah To Go On Leave Amid DOJ Investigation
The DOJ has opened a criminal investigation into the sheriff’s conduct, but little information has been made available. Skrah, who spent 25 years with the Los Angeles Police Department before being elected as the Klamath County sheriff in 2012, says the DOJ investigation supposedly began over a month ago, but he has yet to hear a peep from anyone.
“One month later I still have not been advised as to the specific nature of that investigation nor have I been interviewed by representatives of the Oregon Department of Justice,” Skrah said, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. “I am learning more about the Oregon Department of Justice investigation and learning about an internal county investigation just like the rest of the public – from media reports.”
In May, a complaint filed with the Oregon Employment Relations Board by Cpl. Daren Krag alleged that Sheriff Skrah retaliated against Krag, who is the president of the Klamath County Peace Officers Association, because he had voiced concerns over the sheriff’s treatment of prisoners. The complaint claims Skrah arbitrarily changing Krag’s tour of duty and refused to pay him for overtime worked.
An excerpt from complaint, filed by Gallagher, reads:
“[Skrah’s] actions were meant to impede Cpl. Krag’s ability to process grievances and to represent KCPOA members adequately. By changing his schedule, refusing to pay him money earned and issuing corrective action the Sheriff hoped to stop Cpl. Krag’s attempts to represent his members. The threat was clear — raise union issues with me … and I will mess with your life and your job.”
According to that complaint, in May union president Corporal Daren Krag - one of the deputies who is on leave - sent an email to Skrah outlining union-related issues having to do with court security, body-armor vests, and Krag not being paid for overtime work.
In response, the complaint says, the sheriff changed Krag’s shift, cancelled his participation in some activities and declined to pay his overtime. The complaint, which was filed on May 21, also says Skrah issued a write-up to Krag for not completing an inventory memo on time. According to the complaint, the above actions were taken by the sheriff to “chill, impede, retaliate and interfere” with the deputies’ union business and the work of its president.
UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE COMPLAINT (PDF)
originally posted by: Rocker2013
a reply to: ~Lucidity
Only those wanting to end their career would ever speak out against another officer. Even then, they will likely face years of harassment from other police officers.
By requesting to go on leave, and together, they have sent the message without having to send the message.
They haven't exposed themselves individually to the same kind of abuse and harassment they would likely receive if they had publicly "made a fuss" about this case.