A fired sheriff’s captain has sued Kootenai County, claiming he was promised he would serve as long as Sheriff Pierce Clegg was in office.
Former Capt. Tom Dickson said his constitutional rights were violated when he was fired without reason in March. He is seeking unspecified damages for back pay, future income loss and emotional distress.
Sheriff’s Capt. Ben Wolfinger said neither Clegg nor the department will comment on the pending litigation.
Dickson claims he was chairman of the criminal justice program at Seattle’s Shoreline Community College in 1988 when Clegg was running for office. He said the sheriff offered to give him a job if he won the election. Clegg won and Dickson took the job.
Before the 1994 election, Dickson claimed in the federal court suit, Clegg promised residents of Cataldo - where Dickson lived - that the captain would remain employed if Clegg was re-elected.In March 1995, Dickson was terminated, but the sheriff gave no reason, according to the lawsuit.
Dickson has promised to hold a press conference later this month to discuss rumors of his intent to seek election as sheriff.
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