Spokane County sheriff’s deputy fired for misconduct

THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2014, 1:08 P.M.

Spokane County sheriff’s deputy Todd Saunders was fired for misconduct today after an investigation showed he spent much of his on-duty time at the home of a woman who was not his wife.

The behavior began last August, according to Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. Saunders would call in previously collected names and license plate numbers for dispatchers to run to make it appear that he was busy, Knezovich said. He was put on paid administrative leave in March when someone complained that Saunders’ patrol car was parked in front of a house on the West Plains for hours, sometimes with the engine running.

“The evidence was just overwhelming as to what happened,” Knezovich said. “When he ran those people’s names, those are serious civil rights violations. This isn’t good.”

Initially Saunders declined to participate in a hearing where he could give his side of the story, Knezovich said, then he changed his mind.

“He claimed he didn’t do what was said,” he said. Knezovich didn’t find his statements credible. “He wasn’t doing his job,” he said. “He was found not to be truthful during the investigation.”

Saunders has the right to appeal his termination. “I fully expect that we’ll see a grievance on this,” Knezovich said. “He and the union have the option to take it to arbitration.”

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