Ex-Weber deputy running for sheriff says he's a scapegoat

A Weber County sheriff's deputy whose employee was fired over allegations she was high on methamphetamine at work ret...

Posted: Apr 15, 2018 4:34 PM
Updated: Apr 15, 2018 4:34 PM

A Weber County sheriff's deputy whose employee was fired over allegations she was high on methamphetamine at work retired Monday, saying he is a "scapegoat."

Deputy Kevin Burns' department tried to push him out of his job after he entered the sheriff's race, his political campaign posted on Facebook Friday morning.

"I retired because I was being forced out of my career by a vindictive, politically motivated attempt to blame me for the crimes committed by a former evidence custodian under my supervision," the post said. Burns did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

A county investigation showed he repeatedly failed to address misconduct that led to his subordinate's firing in January, the sheriff's office said Monday. His former employee's name has not been released. A separate criminal investigation is pending after it was discovered she may have stolen drugs from the evidence room.

Burns says the inquiry into how he handled the ordeal came in response to his March announcement that he is seeking the top police job in the county. He said he was forced to retire or be terminated and lose his pension.

Burns has tried to address issues with the evidence room, calling for an outside investigation when possible drug theft came to light, he said. His requests for security cameras and more employees in the room were denied, he added.

"I have nothing to hide," Burns' Friday post reads, going on to say that he was "ultimately driven from my career as a scapegoat when those problems drew public scrutiny."

The department's investigation revealed "a lack of supervision, leadership and dereliction of duty," the sheriff's office said, alleging he failed to report misconduct despite complaints from investigators, prosecutors and others.

Sheriff Terry Thompson said the inquiry was thorough and he stands by his decision.

"That's the truth, and that's where I will leave it," Thompson said in a prepared statement Friday. He declined an interview through a spokesman.

Burns in the post said he won't withdraw his bid to become sheriff and that if he wins, he will draw on the experience to address "systemic problems" in the office. He is one of five Republican candidates vying to replace Thompson, who is not seeking re-election.

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