December 18, 2010 in City

Deputy cleared over sex toys business

Sheriff says Hirzel’s actions didn’t violate department rules
By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Background and the latest updates

The deputy who shot a Spokane Valley pastor will not face discipline for failing to disclose his co-ownership of a business that sold sex toys online.

Spokane County Deputy Brian Hirzel remains under investigation for the Aug. 25 shooting that killed Pastor Wayne Scott Creach near his home and greenhouse business in Spokane Valley.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich announced in September that he had assigned investigators to determine whether Hirzel broke department policy when he failed to disclose his co-ownership in a business called Vanessa Allure that was being operated out of his Hayden home.

“It was being run by his wife,” Knezovich said Friday. “Hirzel gave us full information. He didn’t hide anything. He said he helped set up the website but she ran it.”

Department policy requires deputies to alert the sheriff about any outside employment. Additionally, deputies are barred from operating any business that would pose a conflict of interest with their law enforcement duties or bring the office into “disrepute.” And operating an online business selling “lingerie, souvenirs and condoms,” according to a yellowpages.com advertisement, would qualify as bringing the office into disrepute, Knezovich said in an earlier interview.

Idaho business records show Hirzel and his wife own two businesses: Vanessa Allure, which specializes in sex toys, and Bounce Party USA, which is a party-planning business specializing in kids’ events. Hirzel – who properly disclosed the Bounce Party business to the sheriff – told investigators that he helped his wife set up Vanessa Allure in October 2008, but it only operated for a month and a half.

However, the current policy regarding outside employment wasn’t enacted until April 2009, Knezovich said.

“Had those actions taken place under the new policy, it would have been a policy violation,” he said. “It was a very difficult investigation. We didn’t have anything other than the allegation that he ran the business.”

Hirzel remains on administrative desk duty and at one time was listed on a potential layoff list. However, it appears that Hirzel will keep his job unless something changes with the budget, Knezovich said.

As for the internal investigation, most of the information came from Hirzel, Knezovich said.

“We were never able to locate or contact the anonymous source who brought that forward,” he said.


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