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Sheriff Nelson fires one jail sergeant, places second on leave


( Update: Navarro can request name-clearing hearing; second jail sgt. on paid leave)

Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson announced he fired a jail sergeant Wednesday for conduct that violated the department’s policies. A second jail sergeant has been placed on paid administrative leave for alleged policy violations, he confirmed Thursday.

The sheriff said Sgt. Paul Navarro was placed on paid administrative leave on May 3 for alleged policy violation committed while off-duty. Corrections Sgt. Mike Molan also was placed on paid administrative leave on Sept. 28, Nelson told NewsChannel 21.

In a brief announcement, Nelson said he “terminated Paul Navarro’s employment with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office based on an internal investigation which concluded conduct by Mr. Navarro violated Sheriff’s Office policies.”

The sheriff released no details about the reasons for the firing, saying in an announcement that he will do so “after the conclusion of the separation process,” which includes a 14-day period for Navarro to request a name-clearing hearing, a standard procedure in such cases.

But Nelson stated: “I expect supervisors to lead by example and adhere to the policies, mission and values of this office.”

Captain Deron McMaster told NewsChannel 21 Navarro needs to go through a separation process, which is standard protocol for public employees.

The process usually takes 15 days. After that is completed, the sheriff’s office will release information on why Navarro was let go.

NewsChannel 21 asked McMaster whether the recent news affects the jail staffing.

McMaster said they are understaffed in the jail, but employees work overtime to help with the problem and the sheriff’s office is working at hiring more people to fill those vacancies.

The sheriff’s office has seen numerous dismissals, departures and even arrests during Nelson’s tenure.

Last week, NewsChannel 21 reported Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Kozowski was put on paid administrative leave for allegations he violated agency policies, that investigation is still pending.

Kozowski has denied those allegations, according to his lawyer, Michael McGean.

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