Charges agains deputy detailed

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— The investigation into Sgt. Bill White will continue, though it may be nearing completion according to Walla Walla County Undersheriff Edward Freyer.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office has been handed the job of investigating White on allegations that include insubordination and dereliction of duty. White was placed on administrative leave in late May.

According to the Walla Walla County Deputy Sheriff's Association, however, Sheriff John Turner has violated due process by not informing White of the specific charges against him. A letter sent from the association's attorney, Jaime Goldberg condemned the sheriff's action and called for White's immediate return to active duty.

Turner's administration, however, claims White was notified of the charges when he was placed on leave.

Freyer said this morning the allegations could not be made more specific at that time, because the investigation was not even under way yet.

"We didn't have specifics at that time," Freyer said. "You don't want to accuse the employee if you don't have any facts."

Freyer added that investigations like the one White is going through follow a standard procedure.

"It's a fair and equitable process for both the employee and the Sheriff's Office," Freyer said. "This is a process that has been established across the country."

Mitch Barker, the executive director for the Washington Association of Sheriff's and Police Chiefs agreed that providing too much detail is not common.

"That just taints the investigation," Barker said.

Goldberg, however, disagrees.

"Proceeding on such 'generalities' is not standard procedure," Goldberg wrote via email this morning. "When taking a severe measure such as has been taken against Sgt. Bill White, the standard practice is indeed specific allegations."

Goldberg said the association is still calling for "an immediate end to this charade."

Barker said the association's response is not unusual.

"That is fairly standard for guilds or associations," Barker said. "Nobody likes to be placed on administrative leave."

Goldberg, however, stated the association feels the investigation of White is a "brutal way to recklessly damage employees and their careers."

"What's happened to Sgt. White with such a careless and general approach understandably causes other employees to fear similar damaging actions toward them," Goldberg said.

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