I’m confused because I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a little “grandstanding” going on here?
Anyone who watched the Ozzie/Buff Episodes knows how highly Ozzie touts his great hiring practices and his worldwide recognized training. I guess Ozzie feels he is more than competent to chastise other agencies for their hiring and retention practices, and probably will do just that with his private consulting business Delta Training and Consulting, LLC. Where I’m running into some confusion is Ozzie’s statements to the Spokesman Review.
“They didn’t ask us any questions,” Knezovich said. “I don’t know if they even did a background check.”
Knezovich also questioned the decision to hire Audie to work around youths.
“Let’s just put it this way,” he said. “I’d recommend that the school district do better background checks.”
Ozzie’s first statement to the SR which I copied above somewhat conflicts with Brian Coddington’s statement when he told the SR “We never spoke to the sheriff. That’s correct,” he said. “We did speak to Shawn Audie’s former supervisor. He gave a good recommendation.”
Of course, we don’t know who the former supervisor was but, but it is SOP to contact current and former supervisors when doing a background investigation, especially if the candidate has left that job. The “former supervisor” would have been one of Ozzie’s former people and even without LexisNexis and just using Google you could find documents indicating Audie was a great Deputy for Ozzie. Don’t get me wrong I think the hiring of Audie was a real dumb idea, but I can’t help but wonder what Ozzie would have said about Audie if District 81 had contacted Ozzie directly. Since the highly publicized Will Burger case is predominately mentioned in both the SR and Inlander stories, I have to wonder what Ozzie would have told District 81 folks about Audie if they contacted him. Ozzie’s public statements and his backing of Audie and Paynter are all over the record, including Ozzie’s justification for putting Audie back on the street even before the WSP Investigation was concluded.
Deputies Shawn Audie and Steve Paynter, who confronted Berger when they arrived on scene, have returned to work, according to Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. He said he put the deputies back on patrol because he had not seen anything to indicate they acted inappropriately. He declined further comment until the WSP investigation is finished.
Ozzie has stated that his own in-custody death review found Audie and Paynter to follow Ozzie’s own policy.
“We did our in-custody death review, and all things were found to be in compliance,” said Knezovich, who declined to comment further.
The public record is pretty clear that the Spokane County Prosecutor wasn’t going to charge Audie or Paynter and Ozzie supported both of them. Heck Audie even apologized to Ozzie for the profanity he used during the Berger incident.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Audie came to him after the incident and apologized for the profanity.
“He acknowledged that his language could have been better,” Knezovich said. But the sheriff said while the profanity was not condoned, it was understandable given the violence of the scuffle.
Knezovich declined Friday to comment on the use of force pending the prosecutor’s review of the case.
Calls made to Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who has supported the actions of Paynter and Audie, as well as Jack Driscoll, the deputy prosecutor who oversaw the charging decision, were not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.
Ozzie was happy with the Jury verdict in the Berger case and appreciated what the Jury did as far as Audie and Paynter were concerned.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich released a short statement about the verdict Wednesday. “I appreciate the jury’s time and deliberations,” he said. “This is exactly why I feel that cases like this should go to trial, where a jury can see and hear all the facts before rendering their decision.”
Needless to say, most folks don’t want to spend the money for PACER which is costly but provides documents concerning federal cases which an individual can download or just read and would probably be helpful when doing background investigations, you might notice I use it all the time. Previously I had been following the Berger case on PACER, but I had forgotten a lot, so I spent some more money and once again reviewed some of the documents including this one. Some folks might get a big kick out of what Ozzie says in his deposition about his hand-picked Citizens Advisory Board…I know I did.
Sure, enough Ozzie and his Staff supported Audie to the hilt including under oath so it is confusing to me what Ozzie would have said about Audie had District 81 contacted him directly. Those of us that know about this kind of stuff know that if Ozzie told District 81 Audie was a Dirty Rotten Scoundrel contradicting his sworn testimony and without being able to provide clear and convincing evidence that he was, the taxpayers of Spokane County could end up paying some big bucks.
I’m also kind of confused about this portion of the Inlander story:
“Audie remained a deputy until summer of 2018, when he retired in lieu of termination as the result of an internal investigation. According to the investigation documents obtained by the Inlander via public records request, Audie was accused of using excessive force during an an arrest of a man during a traffic stop.”
The confusing part for me is the hiring criteria for District 81 Cops;
1. High school diploma or equivalent required, two years of college in police science or allied
field or a minimum of five years of law enforcement experience as an investigator, campus security
officer, or other related field preferred.
2. Must have successfully completed a Police Academy and received a reserve or full police
commission. Preference will be given if commissioned in Washington State. Must be accepted for
special police officer commission by the Spokane Police Department.
3. Demonstrated aptitude and ability for successful performance of the responsibilities listed.