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2 Teton County Sheriff’s deputies charged in separate incidents turn in written not-guilty plea

TETON COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - UPDATE: Two deputies with the Teton County Idaho Sheriff's Office have turned in a written not-guilty plea.

That means there is no arraignment Wednesday.

They are on administrative leave after being charged with misdemeanor crimes. 

Fred Robert Hale of Tetonia is charged with petit theft and alteration or concealment of evidence.

He is accused of stealing property from the scene of an unattended death in September of this year. 

Troy Lester Dameron of Rexburg is charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure for allegedly exposing himself to a dispatcher while on duty in august of this year.   

Both Hale and Dameron turned themselves in and posted bond.

ORIGINAL: Criminal cases were unsealed Monday charging two Teton County Sheriff’s deputies with misdemeanor crimes for acts perpetrated while on duty in 2023.

According to the Teton County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and Teton County Sheriff's Office, Troy Lester Dameron of Rexburg has been charged with indecent exposure for allegedly exposing himself to a dispatcher while on duty in August 2023.

Police say Fred Robert Hale of Tetonia has been charged with petit theft and alteration or concealment of evidence for allegedly taking property from the scene of an unattended death investigation in September 2023.

Fred Robert Hale of Tetonia

Upon discovery of the officer misconduct in question, the sheriff’s office immediately placed the officers on administrative leave and reported the conduct to the Teton County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney. Prosecuting Attorney Bailey Smith promptly filed motions with the District Court for the Seventh Judicial District to have a special prosecutor appointed to investigate and prosecute each case, as contemplated by Idaho law. Smith also directed TCSO initiate internal investigations into each incident as a precursor to TCSO considering employment ramifications for each officer. TCSO promptly initiated the internal investigations at the direction of counsel, and coordinated with outside law enforcement agencies in carrying out the criminal and internal investigations. Randy Neal, the Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney, was court appointed as Special Prosecutor in both criminal cases.

Special Prosecutor Neal lodged misdemeanor criminal charges against both Dameron and Hale on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023 with the Magistrate Division of the Teton County District Court. Magistrate Judge Brendon Taylor issued arrest warrants for both defendants and issued a no-contact order prohibiting Dameron from having any contact with the alleged victim. Judge Taylor set bond at $15,000 for Dameron, and $10,000 for Hale. Per Idaho Law, the arrest warrants and criminal cases were sealed until the warrants could be served and returned to the court.

Dameron surrendered himself to Madison County Sheriff’s deputies on his warrant the night of Friday, Oct. 27, 2023. Hale surrendered himself to deputies at the Jefferson County Jail the following morning, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. Dameron and Hale have both posted bond.

Local Magistrate Judge Jason Walker, who would typically be assigned the Dameron and Hale criminal cases, voluntarily disqualified himself from both prosecutions. Jefferson and Madison County deputies returned the warrants to the courts Monday which allowed court clerks to unseal the cases. Magistrate Judge Daniel Clark was assigned to both criminal cases.

Teton County’s insurer ICRMP retained outside employment counsel and an investigator to help TCSO carry out the internal investigations regarding each officer’s conduct. The internal affairs investigator allowed the criminal investigations to proceed first in certain regards so as not to impede the criminal investigations. Now the criminal investigations are concluded, it is anticipated the internal investigations will be concluded within two weeks, and decisions regarding each officer’s employment will be made accordingly.

Article Topic Follows: Crime Tracker

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