September 14, 2010 in City

Sheriff’s Office looks at Hirzel’s role in online sex toy business

Knezovich says deputy could face discipline
By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Background and the latest updates

Deputy Brian Hirzel, already under investigation for fatally shooting a Spokane Valley pastor, now is the subject of a new probe.

Hirzel failed to disclose, as required under Sheriff’s Office rules, that he and his wife are co-owners of a business that sells sex toys online, and could face disciplinary measures if investigators determine he’s taken an active role in the company’s operations, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Monday.

“He told us his wife runs it. If his wife runs it, I can’t control what a spouse does,” Knezovich said, adding that an anonymous tipster advised the Sheriff’s Office on Friday of Hirzel’s connection to the sex toys company. “If he was part of it, there will be some kind of disciplinary action. The discipline will be determined by the facts of the matter.”

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.

“There are reasons why we don’t allow people to work in certain industries. It does not look good for deputies to run such businesses. The public expects us to follow a certain moral code,” he said.

A message left late Monday at the number listed for Vanessa Allure was not returned.

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.

Knezovich said Brian Hirzel properly disclosed his ownership in the Bounce Party business, which complied with all the office policies.

Knezovich said a lieutenant and captain with the Sheriff’s Office just started working on the case on Monday and they want the anonymous tipster, or anyone else who has done business with Vanessa Allure, to call in with any helpful information.

Meanwhile, Spokane Police Department officials, who are leading the investigation into the shooting, said last week that they had hoped to turn over by Monday their investigation into the Aug. 25 killing of pastor Wayne Scott Creach to Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker. But investigators continue to wait for results from tests on evidence and information from the medical examiner’s office, multiple sources said.

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