Which Idaho police were disciplined for misconduct? This database has 18 years of records
Audrey Dutton, Ruth Brown and Cynthia Sewell, Idaho Statesman
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BOISE — Protesters across the country are crying out for police reform following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, putting a spotlight on misconduct and other allegations.
Local police agencies in Idaho are not exempt from accusations and instances of improper behavior.
The Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council has decertified more than 450 law enforcement officers since June 2002.
The number of officers who lost their ability to work in Idaho law enforcement peaked in 2011, fell significantly over the next five years, and then started to climb again in 2017.
There have been 19 officers decertified so far this year.
Decertification is one way Idaho has attempted to curb problem officers. However, the Idaho Statesman reported in 2016 that many officers were able to duck discipline and get new jobs.
“The troubled pasts of the two Adams County sheriff’s deputies who shot and killed rancher Jack Yantis (in 2015) near Council underscore the problem,” the Statesman reported. The deputies had prior discipline — being fired and being placed on probation.
The officers decertified in 2020 by POST included correctional officers at the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), those at juvenile detention centers, and in small police agencies in Buhl and St. Anthony.
Allegations include lying, criminal conduct, having sex while on duty, having inappropriate relationships with victims or witnesses, and several other violations of Idaho’s rules for law enforcement officers.
One of the more notable decertifications in 2020 was Brandon Curtiss, a former police officer for the Nez Perce Tribal Police Department. He was decertified by POST on Feb. 27 after being convicted of a felony. Curtiss was accused of collecting rent from tenants of his clients, while serving as a property manager, and failing to turn over the money. Altogether, he is accused of stealing $98,564. He pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft.
The Idaho Statesman has pending record requests regarding some of the recently decertified officers.
ABOUT THE DATABASE
Records were obtained by the Statesman through public record requests to Idaho POST, which is part of the Idaho State Police.
An officer who faces discipline can be decertified by the POST Council or can relinquish their certification. This database does not differentiate between those and considers them both to be a decertification.
The violations shown are the “initial or alleged violations which caused POST to investigate,” according to POST. They’re not necessarily the same violations that caused the officer to lose their certification.
The Statesman has chosen to publish the initial or alleged violations instead of the final violations. When POST investigates, it may find that the officer committed more or fewer violations, but rarely does it find entirely different violations, according to POST staff. While the council does keep records of those final violations, the records currently aren’t stored in a way that allows the data to be easily provided to the public. The records must be pulled manually for each officer.