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Rigby Police Chief responds to lawsuit, says he did nothing wrong

Rigby

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RIGBY — Rigby’s chief of police has responded to allegations that he retaliated against an officer who reported suspicious financial dealings.

Chief Sam Tower filed his response to Officer Alfred Jacob Hannabach’s lawsuit last week. Just as the city of Rigby denied the allegations made by Hannabach, Tower also denied them and offered his explanation to the accusations.

Hannabach alleged Tower retaliated against him after Hannabach went to the Rigby City Council and said he was suspicious the chief had misused or misplaced $950 donated for officers. Hannabach said the money was supposed to be used to buy a Taser and there was no record of such equipment being purchased.

RELATED | Rigby Police officer sues chief, city over alleged retaliation and demotion

In his response to the lawsuit, Tower said he did not give the $950 to City Records Clerk Dave Swager after the clerk declined to set up a special account for the money.

Tower said he told Hannabach he had the money at his home and when he brought the money back, he did so with a bank bag as a bank employee directed him to.

“The Jefferson County Sheriff’s investigated the issue in response to (Hannabach’s) allegations against Tower,” the response to the lawsuit reads. “Tower further asserts that multiple other agencies also did investigations into this matter in response to the complaints made by (Hannabach).”

Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson tells EastIdahoNews.com when his office was contacted about the incident, he immediately turned it over to city officials due to a conflict of interest. Anderson said the Sheriff’s Office did not investigate.

Tower claims that each investigation determined no money was stolen and the funds were verified as being present and accounted for. He denied ever saying that the money was used to purchase a Taser and said he never changed his story during the investigation.

The taser given to an officer was already one owned by the department, according to Tower in his response.

EastIdahoNews.com submitted a public records request and obtained an invoice the Rigby Police Department submitted to the city for the purchase of six Tasers on Sept. 16, 2020. The invoice was for $1,679.04 and is one of four payments. The city sent a check to Axon Enterprise Inc. to cover the cost of the tasers and police cameras in May 2021.

In regards to Hannabach’s demotion, Tower said it was because of conduct unrelated to the $950.

Tower has asked the lawsuit to be dismissed and to be awarded attorney fees for defending the lawsuit.

In a request for comment last week, Tower said he could not speak on the lawsuit because it deals with a personnel matter.

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