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Community Comment

Fri., March 27, 2009, 5:06 a.m.

Will Sgt. Pete Bunch skate again?

Good morning, Netizens...

SPOKANE - Disciplinary records for a Spokane County Sheriff's sergeant arrested in February show that Pete Bunch has a long history of misusing his authority and even cheating taxpayers on his time sheet.

In 2003, former Sheriff Mark Sterk wanted to fire Bunch when he was caught cheating on his time sheet. According to an internal affairs report the year before Bunch "failed to accurately report 99 hours of vacation time used."

The investigator at the time wrote, "the errors and erroneous reporting are the most egregious I have ever seen."

In order to keep his job Bunch then had to sign his first last chance letter; the final warning agreement expired one year later.

Then in 2004 Sgt. Bunch received another last chance letter after he flashed his badge trying to avoid getting a ticket at the Liberty Lake boat launch. An investigation found Bunch "willfully hindered and delayed a Fish and Wildlife officer in the discharge of their official duties" and that Bunch "exhibited unprofessional and inappropriate behavior."

Bunch has also been disciplined for misusing his county supplied cell phone and not properly investigating an alcohol related crash involving an off-duty state trooper.

Then last month he was involved in another off-duty confrontation with law enforcement. Police arriving on the scene contacted the suspected prowler but the man, who would only say he was looking for a lost dog, refused to cooperate with them and the fight was on.

The man, later identified as Bunch, was booked into the Spokane County Jail on obstructing and resisting charges but Spokane city prosecutors later dropped the charges against the deputy.

Now Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has to decide if he wants to give bunch another last chance. Sheriff Knezovich says he is waiting for a report from the Office of Professional Standards before making his decision.

Ozzie is right. The last thing the County needs is a protracted and potentially expensive lawsuit. On the other hand, one cannot help but wonder how many “Last Chances” any police officer will get before he gets fired these days?


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.