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Sheriff Vasquez Responds To Misconduct Investigations Within Department

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Sonora, CA — Tuolumne County Sheriff David Vasquez has put out a statement in response to a public records act request for documents to an area news outlet detailing the dismissal and/or other punishment of six of the department’s employees between 2019-2022.

Vasquez notes in his statement that it was unlawful to release private documents like these prior to a law being passed in California in 2018, and the 917 pages were submitted following a request by the Union Democrat newspaper. The news outlet named the deputies in what it stated is a three part series of stories.

Vasquez says, “We have worked closely with legal counsel to ensure that the privacy and rights of all persons involved are protected, while ensuring that people’s rights to information is upheld. We are mindful that the subjects of the investigation may still live locally in our community and have families that will learn of these documents: creating hardship. Our goal is to fulfill the legal obligation to produce records at the request of any member of the public.”

Vasquez adds that, “As your sheriff, I will not make excuses or deflect responsibility; I take ownership that the facts outlined in our internal affairs investigations did take place.”

Also noting, “With the support of our community and continued investment of the Board of Supervisors, our office has successfully implemented several operational best practices, such as standalone division of the professional standards (Internal Affairs), additional oversight of bureau commanders (rank of captain), and body worn cameras. The implementation of these standard best practices ensures our internal accountability is sustainable and executed with a high level of proficiency.”

Recently retired Sheriff Bill Pooley first indicated that his office had punished some deputies back in 2021 during a board of supervisors meeting when he argued the need for additional staffing and resources.  The misconduct ranged from sexual affairs, to excessive use of force, and falsifying reports.