Good cops make mistakes. Bad cops need to be disciplined, fired and even prosecuted.
The public needs to trust that the oversight system in place works. We don’t have any evidence there is a problem at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, but Sheriff Shane Nelson told us he wants to be more open about his office’s disciplinary records. That’s an outcome that the community deserves.
Nelson told us he is planning to release information that will give the public a better idea of the number of investigations in his office for possible policy violations and the outcome of those investigations. One thing we could expect to see, Nelson said, is that when an investigation warrants an internal affairs investigation, there will be a greater frequency of disciplinary actions taken.
At least according to our discussion, Nelson was planning on releasing numbers. Not details of specific incidents. Not details that would identify the employee involved or any members of the public. So while releasing the numbers will be a notable change, it won’t be enough information to more completely reassure the public that bad apples are being dealt with appropriately.