March 23, 2008 in City

Washington, Idaho officer decertifications

The Spokesman-Review


Since 2002, the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission has stripped 78 officers of their badges – a third of those last year. Some of the officers who have been decertified in the past six years:

•Spokane police Officer Jonathon J. Smith bought and ate marijuana cookies while attending a Tool concert at the Gorge Amphitheatre in September 2006. He resigned a couple of days later and was stripped of his police credentials in December 2007.

•Kettle Falls police Officer Michael Fisher was fired after he had sex while on duty. Fisher lost his certification for “official misconduct” in November 2007.

•Stevens County sheriff’s Deputy Brandon “Will” Clark and an uncertified reserve officer opened fire with an illegal submachine gun in a residential area. Clark pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a machine gun, which is a felony, and to reckless endangerment and obstructing law enforcement officers in August 2002. His certification was revoked later that year.

•Oak Harbor police Officer Daniel French committed a theft in July 2007. He was decertified in December.

•Washington State Patrol Trooper Mark Sholtys beat his wife in October 2002. He was given a deferred sentence on domestic violence assault and issued an order to stay away from his wife. Sholtys was decertified in May 2004.

•Working in Bellevue, WSP Trooper Michael Idland groped 10 women whom he pulled over, most on suspicion of drunken driving. Idland was convicted of sexual misconduct in 2005, and he was stripped of his police credentials in March 2006.


Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training decertified its first officer in 1986 after Homedale police Officer James Cecil Bryant was convicted of assault. Last year, 14 officers had their credentials taken away, including four who had worked in North Idaho:

•Kootenai County sheriff’s corrections Deputy Al Hetzler lost his job in January 2006 after an investigation indicated he was stealing prescription drugs from an inmate. He was not criminally charged.

•Kootenai County sheriff’s corrections Deputy Chad Bennett was fired in March 2006. Officials wouldn’t discuss the circumstances surrounding his termination. He was decertified for “conduct unbecoming of an officer – untruthfulness.”

•St. Maries police Officer Eric Miller was fired and decertified for “conduct unbecoming an officer, untruthfulness and insubordination.”

•Bonner County sheriff’s Deputy Steven Rife was fired and decertified for carrying his gun while drunk.

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