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Polson man gets prison time for posing as law enforcement

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | July 5, 2022 7:00 AM

A Polson man accused of posing as a federal law enforcement agent to two girls last summer was sentenced recently in Lincoln County District Court.

Pernell Dionne, 37, appeared in front of District Court Judge Matt Cuffe on June 27. He entered a guilty plea in December 2021 to to a single count of impersonating a public servant.

Cuffe handed down a 5-year sentence, with two suspended, to a state Department of Corrections facility where Dionne will be eligible for the Connection Corrections program where he can receive treatment for chemical dependency issues. Dionne did receive credit for serving 324 days in the county jail.

Authorities arrested Dionne on Aug. 7, 2021, after responding to a report of a man making inappropriate contact with children near the Libby Creek Bridge. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Derek Breiland was first on the scene and found Dionne sitting on a guardrail, according to court documents.

Dionne allegedly told Breiland he was sitting beneath the bridge when two girls approached him. The pair offered him food, which he took, he told the deputy.

Dionne thought they seemed put-off by him. He told Breiland he showed the girls a badge and assured them he was a U.S. Marshal and deputy sheriff, court documents said.

None of that was true, Breiland wrote in an affidavit.

“The badge is fake and Dionne is not associated with any law enforcement agency,” wrote Breiland, who seized the badge.

Dionne “seemed shocked” by the revelation that he was not associated with law enforcement, according to Breiland. Dionne allegedly said that he believed he “was a cop” because his grandfather served in the U.S. Army.