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Sheriff Burns to investigate deputy’s off-duty actions

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Jefferson County Sheriff John P. Burns will “personally” investigate what he terms “a violation of the vehicle and traffic law” committed by one of his deputies during the officer’s off-duty hours.

He declined Wednesday to confirm that his investigation will focus on K-9 handler Adam B. Hallett, but the date and circumstances he outlined are the same revealed about Deputy Hallett in the Dec. 11 issue of the Watertown Daily Times.

“On December 1, 2012, an unfortunate incident occurred with a Deputy Sheriff and the use of a patrol vehicle 118, a vehicle assigned to a K-9 handler,” Mr. Burns said in a press release.

Officers assigned to K-9 duty are authorized to take home their patrol vehicles because they are subject to call-in for investigations where their dogs are needed. A source told the Times that another deputy sheriff discovered Deputy Hallett, an eight-year veteran of the department, in his patrol vehicle off the side of a highway some time after he had gone off duty that day.

Although there was a traffic law violation, Mr. Burns said, “an arrest was not made.”

He gave assurance that “this will be a thorough and complete investigation and the outcome will be nothing less than would have occurred with any other citizen of Jefferson County.”

When asked by the Times on Dec. 10 about Deputy Hallett, he confirmed only that the deputy was the subject of an internal investigation and was not under suspension.

Sheriff Burns said he is taking on the investigation because “additional information has been brought to me.” He said he has several interviews and statements to take, and that the Christmas holiday will slightly prolong his investigation.

“I will assure the citizens of Jefferson County that at the conclusion of this investigation, criminal/disciplinary charges or both will be placed against the Deputy Sheriff.”

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