By Aubrey Wieber
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office fired corrections Sgt. Paul Navarro on Wednesday, the sixth employee fired in the past year. The office also placed corrections Sgt. Mike Molan on administrative leave.
Representatives from the office declined to comment on what either deputy had done, but noted that Navarro was fired because he “violated sheriff’s office policies.”
According to a sheriff’s office news release, Navarro had been on administrative leave since May 3.
When reached Wednesday, Sheriff Shane Nelson said Navarro has 15 days to request a name-clearing hearing and he would not discuss the deputy’s conduct until after that.
While Nelson is honoring Navarro’s right to a hearing, on past firings Nelson has said he is taking steps to ensure his office performs to its expectations and abilities.
A name-clearing hearing is an opportunity for a fired employee to submit an explanation of events and air any grievances. It can be done in person or in writing. The sheriff’s office has followed the same protocol with prior firings.
Navarro’s dismissal came after a year in which many employees have been fired or placed on administrative leave pending investigations. It also comes nearly two weeks after Deputy Eric Kozowski was placed on administrative leave.
Disciplinary moves throughout the past year have left the sheriff’s office short-staffed and required moving deputies around to ensure minimum staffing levels in the Deschutes County jail.
Navarro is the first employee to be fired since deputies Christina Daugherty and David Chambers were fired April 1 for behavior that included falsifying records, insubordination, sleeping on the job and attempting to pry a lip ring from a jail inmate’s mouth.
Kozowski was placed on leave because of an internal investigation involving several allegations, including failure to take a report, not arresting a wanted suspect and making press statements about an investigation involving a lieutenant. Those statements were made last year, when the deputy tried and failed to defeat incumbent Sheriff Shane Nelson.
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