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Court Upholds Decision To Reinstate Fired Deputy

Sat., Jan. 14, 1995

Lincoln County Sheriff Dan Berry and Deputy Richard Morrison are stuck with each other.

A ruling Friday by Adams County Superior Court Judge Richard Miller is similar to the verdict of voters last September.

Morrison, who narrowly failed to oust Berry in the Republican sheriff’s primary, will stay in the sheriff’s department as a thorn in Berry’s side.

Miller upheld the Lincoln County Civil Service Commission’s decision to split the difference in a dispute over whether Morrison should have been fired for using his badge to escape a drunken-driving arrest in November 1992.

Berry fired Morrison in March 1993, and Lincoln County Civil Service commissioners agreed unanimously that Morrison abused his badge. But the commissioners decided a 7-month suspension without pay was adequate punishment in view of Morrison’s “largely successful” 18 years of service with the sheriff’s department.

Morrison asked the court to reverse all disciplinary action against him, and Berry appealed for the court to uphold his decision to fire Morrison.

Miller said the Civil Service Commission was “not unjustified” in concluding that Morrison improperly sought preferential treatment when Bureau of Indian Affairs police officer Mark Gravatt stopped him near Ford, Wash.

Gravatt said Morrison, who was out of uniform and in his private vehicle, repeatedly flashed his badge and pointed out that he was a sheriff’s deputy.

Tags: ethics

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