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COMMUNITY VIEWPOINT: In response to Sheriff DeMeo

The following statement is in response to Sheriff DeMeo’s recent press conference regarding the arrest of Sgt. Michael Horn. In his zeal to cast blame onto me and others, Sheriff DeMeo failed to check the facts of the matter involving the incident reported to me in 2013.

Please keep in mind that sergeants are supervisors, and as such, part of their duties are to perform quality control checks and monitoring of their subordinates.

In 2013, a deputy came to me and reported that Sgt. Horn was having deputies turn in prescription drugs seized during coroner’s investigations to him, in order to insure that the pill counts (conducted per policy) were accurate and that all pills were accountable. There were no allegations of criminal activity or wrongdoing; however I saw procedural issues with Sgt. Horn’s plan. I was Sgt. Horn’s supervisor, and as such, was paid to handle minor administrative matters, and this was presented to me as just that (an administrative matter).

I spoke to Sgt. Horn, who advised me he had implemented the plan as part of his quality control procedures to safeguard the agency. I advised him of the flaws in his methods and furthermore advised him to cease this procedure.

Another deputy then spoke with me regarding this procedure. He had no specific allegations, but also thought the method was flawed. At that time I had received no allegations of any wrongdoing by Sgt. Horn.

For the next eight to nine months of my tenure, I never received any additional complaints, nor did I receive any further briefings about the matter.

It appears that Sgt. Horn found a way to bypass my order, by becoming involved in the drug turn in program that falls under the supervision of Sheriff DeMeo. Other than occasionally seeing a volunteer preparing to destroy the prescriptions, I had no involvement in that program.

Sheriff DeMeo accuses me of incompetence in handling the 2013 matter, but I ask you to keep in mind the following points:

In 2007, Sheriff DeMeo had information of criminal activity by Sgt. Horn that occurred in Boulder City. The Sheriff turned it over to narcotics investigators for follow-up, but did not refer this matter involving alleged criminal activity to Internal Affairs. He excuses this due to no specific allegations of wrongdoing.

In 2013, I received a complaint from a deputy about a procedural matter, with no allegations of any wrongdoing. As a supervisor, I corrected the behavior and spoke with narcotics as a matter of thoroughness.

During my remaining tenure, until my retirement in September 2013, I received no other information or complaints. However based on the information I’ve read and heard through the media, within a month of my retiring, Sgt. Horn was stealing prescription drugs with impunity.

Sheriff DeMeo attempts to obfuscate the handling of Sgt. Horn’s arrest and the unusual and expedited release under O.R., with blame laying and finger pointing instead of investigating the matter and being forthright with those findings.

Had Sheriff DeMeo simply asked me about the 2013 matter prior to his news conference, he would not have been in a position to make false allegations and inaccurate statements. Or at the very least, he would have known the facts before making any such statements.

Change is needed within the sheriff’s office. The public deserves honesty and fairness from this office and its personnel. Through my plan of Citizen Liaisons and Review Committees, I intend to provide insight into the sheriff’s office activities, as permitted by law and contractual restrictions.

I am seeking election as sheriff, because I know what needs to be fixed, and how to fix it, while minimizing liability to the county, and restoring the public’s trust in this office.

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