Lawmakers Ask Attorney General To Probe Sheriff's Department

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The Jefferson County Board of Legislators voted unanimously Tuesday night to ask the state attorney general's office to investigate the sheriff's department.

Lawmakers will request that the Public Integrity Bureau look into whether any criminal or other misconduct took place in regards to the way the sheriff's department handled the case of a deputy who had an open alcoholic beverage container in his patrol car in December.

"If they determine that there is some negligence in terms of the criminal side," said legislator Scott Gray, "we want their opinion and we want their recommendations on everything involving this."

"I'm not out here to hang anyone," said board chair Carolyn Fitzpatrick, "but there should be some discipline, more so than what our legislators and our community feels has already taken place."

The legislators are going forward with the request despite word from the attorney general's office in Syracuse that the state attorney general might not have jurisdiction in this case.

"I don't think there really was a logical reasoning," Fitzpatrick said, "which is why we're going to pursue it on the state level, rather than the Water town office or the Syracuse office."

"We're going straight to the attorney general," she said.

Legislators hope to have a response from the attorney general's office by March.

It's unclear what will happen if the attorney general declines to investigate.

Sheriff John Burns was not available for comment.

See our earlier story.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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