BLACKFOOT — Bingham County Prosecutor Paul Rogers is the latest public official asking for Sheriff Craig Rowland to consider resigning.
In a statement sent to EastIdahoNews.com Friday, Rogers says the county has received an “overwhelming number of phone calls with inquiries that I never expected to have to answer” since news broke that Rowland is charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery
The allegations stem from an incident in which Rowland allegedly assaulted a group of young women and their adult leader after they left a thank you note on his door in early November.
“Right now Bingham County and our law enforcement and elected officials, both county and city, are being attacked based on what are merely allegations at this stage,” Rogers said. “At some point, the damage to the Sheriff’s Office becomes irreparable regardless of the outcome of the newly-filed case. To this end I would hope that our current Sheriff would again consider resignation as an option to allow Bingham County to begin the healing process and allow the officers and the County to continue on safely and effectively.”
Rogers is not prosecuting the case against Rowland and asked the Idaho Attorney General to handle the matter to follow Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct.
“In the recent days, Bingham County has made headlines which have placed Bingham County in a negative light,” Rogers said. “I have read the affidavit of probable cause regarding the charges filed against Sheriff Craig Rowland and the charging complaint and have been disheartened and surprised by the allegations contained within each.”
Rogers said many of the questions regard resignation and what elected officials can do about the incident involving Rowland. The prosecutor points out that under Idaho law, there is no authority for one elected official to force another elected official out of office.
When speaking with investigators about the incident, Rowland allegedly made disparaging remarks about people from the nearby Fort Hall Reservation. The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes called for Rowland’s resignation and a public apology Thursday.
“I have been with the Bingham County Prosecutor’s Office for nine years, and in my entire time here I have worked with the best officers both in the county and in the city (including Shelley Police) from top to bottom,” Rogers said. “Never once have I reviewed a case and believed that any of our officers work with a racial intent. In fact, my experience is that all of our local law enforcement puts forth significant effort to see each case on its face, record facts, collect evidence and complete reports without any preconceived judgment attached”
Rowland took a two-week leave of absence during the initial investigation but returned to the job two weeks ago. He has not yet entered a plea on the charges he faces.
On behalf of the city of Blackfoot and the Blackfoot Police Department, Mayor Marc Carroll also called for Rowland to resign Friday.
You can read all of Roger’s statement here: