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Sheriff¹s deputies under investigation

| August 27, 2004 12:00 AM

By Brent Shrum, Western News Reporter

Allegations involving the manipulation of evidence in a drug case and sexual activities in a patrol car have led to the firing of one Lincoln County sheriff¹s deputy and the suspension of another.

³Allegations are all it is at this particular time,² said Sheriff Daryl Anderson, who confirmed that deputy Chris Gardella had been fired and deputy Mark Jacobson had been suspended without pay.

Both deputies remain under investigation by the state Division of Criminal Investigation, which took over the case in mid-July following an initial inquiry at the county level.

Gardella, who was hired last fall and was still working under the sheriff¹s office¹s one-year probationary policy, was dismissed following an investigation by the sheriff¹s and county attorney¹s offices into allegations that he manipulated evidence in a drug case.

That investigation was expanded to encompass Jacobson based on allegations that he had engaged in sexual activities in a patrol car with a woman serving as an informant.

Anderson and County Attorney Bernie Cassidy said the state¹s investigation is nearly finished and should be wrapped up within the next week or so.

To avoid a conflict with ongoing prosecutions involving the two deputies, Cassidy said he was asking the state attorney general¹s office to screen the results of the investigation to determine what, if any, criminal charges may be applicable. If charges are filed, the state would also be asked to prosecute.

Anderson expressed a low tolerance for misconduct by his deputies. Officers of the law take an oath and are expected to be held to a higher standard than other people, he said.

³We have a code of ethics to live by,² he said.