COOPERSTOWN - The Otsego County Public Safety and Legal Affairs Committee held a press conference this morning to discuss their investigation into the Otsego County Sheriff's Office.
Their investigation is related to statements and threats allegedly made by the Otsego County Sheriff's son back in January. A 17-page report with redactions was handed to the media at today’s meeting.
Back in January, Sheriff Richard Devlin’s son Ros Devlin, who works as a corrections sergeant, reportedly made threats to shoot employees at the corrections office and at two local schools.
Today's report appeared to place the blame on the sheriff and insinuates that he interfered with the investigation. Earlier this year, several county officials recommended that the sheriff recuse himself from the investigation, which he refused to do.
The report handed out today said that when the county investigators were questioning employees about Ros Devlin, the sheriff insisted on being present for those interviews. The report also says the sheriff requested a meeting with the county's lawyers.
The sheriff says the above is half-true.
"I've never asked to be part of the interviews with the correctional officer employees," Devlin said. "I received a complaint from one of the officers about how they were treated during the interview. I wanted to bring that to the County's attention and I was declined any type of meeting."
Sheriff Devlin is also accused of reprimanding other jail employees for not reporting the threats immediately, while he himself violated the county's rules by not sharing the incident to the personnel officer.
"[He] did not report the threat to personnel officer as required by county policy and chose not to warn the schools," Ed Frazier, the head of Otsego County's public safety committee said. "He has also refused to require his son to have a medical examination as authorized by the Civil Service law."
"We have our own workplace violence policy in the sheriff's office," Devlin said. "That policy was followed. We don't follow the county's policy."
The committee says Devlin’s decision to place his son on suspension with pay is not a punishment and say no other employee would recieve the same treatment.
“The committee has concluded that any other employee in this same situation would have been treated differently and would not have been allowed to continue on the payroll,” said Ed Frazier, chairman of the Public Safety and Legal Affairs Committee. “The sheriff’s actions, or lack of action, have resulted in giving his son a financial benefit at taxpayers’ expense that would not have been made available to any other employee.”
Members of the committee declined interviews after the press conference and would not take questions.
However, Devlin feels as though the investigation has turned into a personal attack from the county.
"The last five years, I've had zero cooperation and correspondence from the leadership of this board," Devlin said. "I don't care who the employee was, I'm not going to put the faith of an employee of the sheriff's office in the hands of a board leadership that is not fair."
Ros Devlin remains on paid leave and is banned from county property.
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