Police Chief, Sheriff Spar Under Calls For Unity

FALLS CITY – County commissioners and Taking Back Our Community urged police and the Richardson County Sheriff’s Office to work together at a meeting Tuesday saying there has been 20 years of division.

Police Chief Duane Armbruster reacted to Sheriff  Don Pounds’ comments last week that he would have to hire more correctional officers because arresting officers had failed to find contraband on suspects before they entered secured areas of the jail.

Armbruster said it would have been better had the sheriff talked to him about issues rather than pointing the finger at the police department.

Armbruster: “Searches is what I meant. That we didn’t.

Pounds: “See yeah, that’s all you want to dwell on. You made it sound.

Armbruster: “I knew that we met.”

Pounds: “You didn’t say that there, did you?”

Armbruster: “I’m saying it now. It was a good meeting. That was a good meeting.”

Sickle: “We ought to have a meeting every week.”
Armbruster: “I’m in.”

Sickle: “Maybe we ought to have a meeting every week.”

Pounds: “You know what? That’s fine for a department that is so overmanned they have time for a bunch of people on duty, I’m working nights now because I don’t have enough.”

Armbruster: “Get something worked out and we’ll be more than happy to cooperate. Just let me know.”

Bob Witt of TBOC said members of each agency could meet regularly and Commissioner Dave Sickel said the taxpayers need a unified stance against crime.

Sickle: “No talking is not the answer to this. We’ve got to visit about things, get it resolved and work together. We’ve got way too much divide. I’m not blaming one department over the other, but it’s just a situation where it’s not compatible and it’s not going to work. We can’t have it continue, that’s all.”

Pounds told a TBOC member that he is sorry that his comments sounded like someone from the police department had refused to strip search inmates in accordance with the sheriff’s policy. He said he meant that he realizes he does not have authority to order police to do a search of suspects.

Officer: “The video I saw, you know, made it look like you know you’re being forced to put on extra staff because we are refusing to follow your policies on searches and we’re not. You know, a mistake was made.”

Pounds said he did not set out to “sling mud,” but was trying to answer questions from the public.

Pounds: “I did not bring this up. It was TBOC demanding answers to questions of how come we were having arrests inside the jail with meth.”

He said contraband being found in the jail was made public when he pursued charges for possession.

Armbruster: “In the future, what I would like for you to do is contact me, rather than just throw stones and let me know and I will deal with it.  I think we will get along just fine, if you can handle that.”

Pounds: “If the prisoners are properly searched we won’t be getting the drugs into the jail, so that will take care of the problem.”

Armbruster presented a letter to county commissioners saying police searches were directly involved in one incident where drugs were found in an inmate’s locker, but never made it to a cell.

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