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Windham County Sheriff's Office
PO Box 266, Newfane, VT 05345

Updated: Deputy's discharge of firearm under investigation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE05/24/2022 5:33 PM

Update 5/24/22

In response to our press release regarding my deputy’s reported discharge of their weapon, I’ve received numerous constructive concerns and questions. It is my intent by writing this that I help explain the nuances.

Hiring and training at the Sheriff’s Office

The community can have confidence in our hiring and training processes. The minimum hiring criteria for any Vermont agency includes medical examination, written examination (currently suspended pending adoption of a new test by the Vermont Criminal Justice Council), psychological testing, background and character checks, polygraph, a minimum education of a high school diploma/general education development certificate, be eighteen or older, and complete various forms of training including academic, scenario-based, and field-supervised training under the direct supervision of a qualified officer. These criteria are determined by Vermont law and the rules of the Vermont Criminal Justice Council.

What we don’t do is measure any protected characteristics, such as age. To do so would be unlawful discrimination under Vermont’s Fair Employment Practices laws. Vermont allows any individual between the age of eighteen, up to an undefined age, to be a law enforcement officer if they meet established qualifying requirements. Federal law protects anyone age forty or older from age discrimination. There have been numerous successful Vermont law enforcement officers who began their careers at the age of eighteen. I am an example of one. My department’s strategy for helping develop new deputies with less life experience combines them in working situations with supervision including traffic direction, transports of in-custody individuals and other lower-risk settings, which helps develop them into the public servants and peace officers we’ve developed a reputation for having.

Publication of an individual’s name and other personal characteristics

Some people have requested that my office confirm the identity of the deputy. I ask the community to trust that I will do a diligent, thorough, and proper job in working on this. I have every vested interest that a reasonable, rational solution results from our investigation.

From an employer’s perspective, we are conducting an internal investigation of an employee to evaluate actions through the lens of our policies, procedures, and training. This is a root-cause analysis and can be a disciplinary investigation. Often, employers (public or private) do not disclose specific details of internal investigations publicly. To do so can complicate our internal investigation, complicate the Bellows Falls Police Department’s criminal investigation (of which, their work supersedes our internal investigation), and can create liabilities for the department. It is important to note that an internal investigation and a criminal investigation occur in parallel and are equally critical in this situation. Both have certain requirements and limitations established in law and legal rulings. We want to ensure that both investigations are leveraged to their maximum potential.


What is standard procedure when a firearm is discharged?

When a Windham County deputy is involved in an incident involving the discharge of a weapon, our “Deputy Involved Shooting” policy/procedure is initiated. This policy necessitates summoning a department supervisor to the scene who will make notification to the Windham County State’s Attorney, and physically secure the involved-deputies weapon. Our policy demands a “complete, thorough, and factual investigation,” and directs that criminal investigation to be conducted by the Vermont State Police and/or any agency tasked by the Windham County State’s Attorney. It requires that I provide a news release with as much information as possible without being prematurely judgmental or compromising the legal and personal considerations of the deputy.

The discharge of a weapon also causes an internal investigation to be conducted. It is important to note that an internal investigation is not only for identifying if an employee violated established policies, procedures, or training, but forces a review of said policies, procedures, and trainings to ensure we remain current, and address any gaps we identify to prevent further occurrences of similar events.

Regarding the incident in question, we have accomplished or are working to accomplish all these things now.

How long does an internal investigation take?

There is no prescribed amount of time an internal investigation can take. We demand a prompt and thorough investigation which means talking to numerous individuals, including all people involved, subject matter experts, trainers and any other appropriate person identified through the investigation. We have seen internal investigations be opened and closed in a matter of hours, while others have lasted months. Because there is no prescribed limit, we create set guardrails to ensure the process is followed. Every seven days, I receive a status report on an internal investigation until it is concluded.

Respectfully,
-Sheriff Mark Anderson

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Issued: 05/21/2022 1:19 PM

A Windham County Sheriff’s deputy has been placed on unpaid administrative leave, pending the outcome of an internal investigation regarding the discharge of a department firearm in their Bellows Falls residence while off-duty. No one was injured in the incident.

“The community holds deputies to a high standard. They are trusted with immense responsibilities. The Vermont Police Academy and my department train our deputies in proper handling, maintenance, and care of their equipment,” said Sheriff Mark Anderson. “I am thankful that no one was injured in this incident. I have directed my staff to conduct an internal investigation to identify what occurred, what safety principles and policies were not followed, and identify our next steps. We have notified the Windham County State’s Attorney and have requested an outside law enforcement agency to determine if any criminal action has occurred.”

An internal investigation’s intent is to make determinations based on the sheriff’s policies and procedures. The purpose of an internal investigation is meant to:
1. Determine if an employee violated the rules, regulations, and policies of the WCSO
2. Provide early indicators of possible personnel issues;
3. Facilitate prompt and just disciplinary action;
4. Uncover defective, outdated, or missing procedures, policies or guidelines or material; and
5. Provide a mechanism for administrative and citizen review
6. Ensure employees are provided with information concerning their rights pursuant to a complaint and internal investigation.

“While personnel/employment matters remain confidential as a matter of law, we will work our process to ensure an appropriate outcome. I want to apologize to the people and community affected by this incident,” Sheriff Anderson concluded. “We will provide future information upon conclusion of our investigation.”



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Windham County Sheriff's Office
PO Box 266, Newfane, VT 05345

Man arrested for Excessive Speed in work zone

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE05/03/2022 6:13 PM

Incident:
Date: 22WHC001808
Location: I 91 S work zone, Rockingham
Investigating Deputy: Sgt. Norton #166

Accused: Christopher Rurka
Age: 42
City/State of Residence: Winchester, NH

Charges: 1) Excessive Speed

Description: On 05/03/22 at approximately 1656 hours Christopher Rurka was arrested by the Windham County Sheriff's Office after his vehicle was observed to be traveling 88 mph in the posted 55 mph work zone near X6. Christopher was released on a citation to appear in the Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division at a later date. He was also issued a traffic ticket for the civil speeding violation.

Court Date: 06/28/22
Bail: N/A



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Windham County Sheriff's Office
PO Box 266, Newfane, VT 05345

Man arrested on two outstanding arrest warrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE05/03/2022 4:49 PM

Incident: 22WHC001775
Date: 4/30/22
Location: Rt. 121 Saxtons River, VT
Investigating Deputy: M. Checchi

Accused: Steven Morway
Age: 33
City & State of Residence: Charlestown, NH

Charges: Arrest on Warrants X2

Description: On April 30th, 2022, at approximately 9:03 pm, a deputy from the Windham County Sheriff's Office stopped a vehicle on Rt. 121 in Saxtons River for a traffic violation. The passenger, identified as Steven Morway, was found to have to outstanding arrest warrants. He was arrested and lodged at the Southern State Correctional Facility.

Court Date: 5/2/22
Bail: $1200



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Windham County Sheriff's Office
PO Box 266, Newfane, VT 05345

Woman arrested for Excessive Speed in Work Zone

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE05/03/2022 4:48 PM

Incident: 22WHC001807
Date: 05/03/22
Location: I 91 S/B in X6 work zone, Rockingham
Investigating Deputy: Sgt. Norton #166

Accused: Rebecca Proulx
Age: 27
City/State of Residence: Springfield, VT

Charges: 1) Excessive Speed

Description: On 05/03/22 at approximately 1608 hours, Rebecca Proulx was arrested by the Windham County Sheriff's Office after her vehicle was checked on radar traveling 87 mph through the active work zone on I 91 near x6. Rebecca was released on a citation to appear in the Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division at a later date. She was also issued a traffic ticket for the civil speeding violation with the work zone enhancement.

Court Date: 06/28/22
Bail: N/A



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Windham County Sheriff's Office
PO Box 266, Newfane, VT 05345

Man arrested for Negligent Operation of MV and Excessive Speed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE04/20/2022 7:45 PM

Incident: 22WHC001599
Date: 04/20/22
Location: I 91 N MM 11.1, Brattleboro
Investigating Deputy: Sgt. Norton #166

Accused: Bruce A Gauthier
Age: 56
City/State of Residence: Brattleboro, VT

Charges:

1) Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle
2) Excessive Speed

Description: On 04/20/22 at approximately 1805 hours Bruce A Gauthier was arrested by the Windham County Sheriff's Office after his vehicle was found to be traveling at 100 mph in the posted 65 mph zone on I 91 in Brattleboro. Bruce was released on a citation to appear in the Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division at a later date. He was also issued a traffic ticket for the civil speeding violation.

Court Date: 06/28/22
Bail: N/A



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Windham County Sheriff's Office
PO Box 266, Newfane, VT 05345

Incident: 22WHC001396
Date: 04/10/22
Location: I-91 N MM18.6 in Putney
Investigating Deputy: Sgt. Norton #166

Accused: Adam A.R.I. Fane
Age: 24
City/State of Residence: Royalton, VT

Charges:

1) Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle
2) Excessive Speed

Description: On 04/10/22 at approximately 1835 hours Adam Fane was arrested by the Windham County Sheriff's Office after the vehicle he was operating was seen traveling at 109 mph in the posted 65 mph speed zone on I-91 in Putney. Adam was released on a citation to appear in the Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division at a later date. He was also issued a traffic ticket for the civil speeding violation.

Court Date: 05/17/22
Bail: N/A



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Windham County Sheriff's Office
PO Box 266, Newfane, VT 05345

Man arrested for DUI in Putney.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE04/10/2022 8:01 PM

Incident: 22WHC001386
Date: 4/9/22
Location: US Rt. 5 Putney, VT
Investigating Deputy: M. Checchi

Accused: Randy K. Rumrill
Age: 23
City & State of Residence: Charlestown, NH

Charges: Driving Under the Influence-Alcohol

Description: On April 9th, 2022, at approximately 1:55 am, deputies from the Windham County Sheriff's Office stopped a vehicle on US Rt. 5 in Putney, VT. The vehicle's operator, Randy K. Rumrill displayed clues of impairment. Investigation revealed that Rumrill was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and was subsequently arrested. He was processed at the Bellows Falls Police Department and released on a citation to appear at a later date.

Court Date: 4/26/22
Bail: N/A



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Windham County Sheriff's Office
PO Box 266, Newfane, VT 05345

Man arrested for possession of Crack Cocaine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE04/10/2022 8:00 PM

Incident: 22WHC001383
Date: 4/8/22
Location: US Rt. 5 Westminster/Bellows Falls line
Investigating Deputy: M. Checchi

Accused: Michael Quinones
Age: 50
City & State of Residence: Bellows Falls, VT

Charges: Possession of Cocaine (Crack)

Description: On April 8th, 2022, at approximately 9:35 pm, Deputies from the Windham County Sheriff's Office stopped a vehicle on US Rt. 5 in the Town of Westminster, VT on the border with the Village of Bellows Falls. During the course of the stop, deputies developed reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and consent to search the vehicle and the operator, Michael Quinones was given. Deputies located crack cocaine concealed on Mr. Quinones. He was arrested, processed, and issued a citation to appear at a later date.

Court Date: 6/7/22
Bail: N/A



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Windham County Sheriff's Office
PO Box 266, Newfane, VT 05345

Incident: 22WHC001186
Date: 03/29/22
Location: I-91 S near MM 28 in Westminster
Investigating Deputy: Sgt. Norton #166

Accused: Santiago Sierra-Vargas
Age: 21
City/State of Residence: Stamford, CT

Charges:

1) Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle
2) Excessive Speed

Description: On 03/29/22 at approximately 1253 hours Santiago Sierra-Vargas was arrested by the Windham County Sheriff's Office after he was observed traveling south on I-91 at 100 mph in the posted 65 mph speed zone. Santiago was released on a citation to appear in the Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division at a later date. He was also issued a traffic ticket for the civil speeding violation.

Court Date: 05/17/22
Bail: N/A



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Windham County Sheriff's Office
PO Box 266, Newfane, VT 05345

Incident: 22WHC0001296
Date: 04/06/22
Location: US Route 5 near Charette Dr, Dummerston
Investigating Deputy: Sgt. Norton #166

Accused: Bruce A Gauthier
Age: 56
City/State of Residence: Brattleboro, VT

Charges:

1) Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle
2) Excessive Speed

Description: On 04/06/22 at approximately 1210 hours, Bruce A Gauthier was arrested by the Windham County Sheriff's Office after he was observed traveling south on US Route 5 at 82 mph in the posted 40 mph speed zone near the VT AOT Building in Dummerston. Bruce was released on a citation to appear in the Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division at a later date. He was also issued a traffic ticket for the civil speeding violation.

Court Date: 05/31/22
Bail: N/A



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