Sad...but VERY True:
Here's an article from the Bonners Ferry Herald Newspaper, dated 12/18/03:
DEPUTY CITED FOR POACHING
Boundary County Sheriff George Voyles placed a patrol deputy on suspension pending an internal investigation after he wa charged with Idaho Fish and Game violations for illegally taking a Deer early Monday morning.
Heath Gustafson was cited for Shooting from the roadway, Shooting a deer with the use of artificial lights and for taking a deer out of season.
Sheriff's dispatchers received a report around 12:11 am of a poacher, south of Naples, driving a white Ford Explorer with the word "Sheriff" painted on the side.
According to the Sheriff's report, Gustafson was going off shift when the incident allegedly occurred.
Since Fish and Game Conservation officers were unavailable, oncoming Patrol Deputy Wayne Westbrook was called to respond.
On arriving, he found a large buck deer that had been freshly shot. Westbrook gathered evidence at the scene, and at Sheriff Voyles' direction turned it over to Fish and Game Conservation Officer Brian Johnson.
According to Johnson, Sheriff Deputy Gusatfson was fully cooperative and remorseful, and gave a full confession.
Johnson said the Sheriff's Office was extremely cooperative, and praised Westbrook for an excellent job investigating the incident.
The deer meat was turned over to the Gleaners for distribution to charity.
Does anyone else find this entire incident anything LESS than outrageous?
I called the Coeur D'Alene branch of Idaho Fish and Game and spoke with an Officer directly involved in the review of this "citation." He was quite vague as to whether this crime was a misdemeanor or a felony. He sounded "put out" that an Idaho Citizen would be concerned about how this incident would be resolved. He did assure me that a Special Prosecutor had been asigned. (for all the good that will do. ;-/ )
I'm not familiar with the code pertaining to the unlawful taking of big Game, so maybe you all can give me a clue here?
When a Sheriff's Deputy shoots a deer off-season, from the roadway, using artificial lights with a department-issued rifle while still on duty, is it a Felony or a Misdemeanor?
INCREDULOUSY, the very same day the above article was published, two Boundary County men were jailed (6 month sentences) and fined $500 each for unlawfully hunting with artificial lights and trespassing. (The FOOLS didn't even bag a deer!)
What is wrong with this picture?
Any average Joe would have been arrested on the spot! Not Deputy Gustafson. Seems like there are TWO sets of Rules in Boundary County.
Whatever happened to Justice for ALL?
I will be posting the email addresses and phone numbers of the Officials involved in the possible prosecution this "citation".
Deputy Gustafson should be afforded NO special treatment. As a Law Enforcement Officer, he should be held to the HIGHEST of standards!
Without public pressure, this entire incident will be swept quietly under the rug. For once, I'd like to see justice served.
I'm sick of the corruption that runs rampant in our small, rural community.
Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.