Last weekend, representatives of the Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training Council, or POST, the state agency that polices the police, came to Lake County to track down five current and former law enforcement officers, to serve them with certification revocation notices.
Former Lake County Undersheriff Karey Reynolds, the subject of a state perjury investigation; Detective Mike Sargeant; Polson Police Chief Wade Nash and Officer Cory Anderson; and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Officer Jason Nash all face POST hearings to determine whether to strip them of their ability to be cops in Montana.
POST has been investigating misconduct among these and other Lake County law enforcement officers for a couple years now. POST Director Wayne Ternes told the Indy last December that the agency had received "numerous complaints filed by citizens up there in [Lake County] ... It's up and down the valley, including tribal officers."
In February, five current and former officers in the Lake County Sheriff's Department filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that four of their colleaguesincluding Sheriff Jay Doyle, Undersheriff Dan Yonkin and Detective Sargeantretaliated against them for bringing forward evidence of wrongdoing within the department, ranging from a deputy's lies about serving as a U.S. Marine to several officers' involvement in a poaching group known as "the Coyote Club." Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park's investigation of the Coyote Club has implicated Nash and Sargeant.
Meanwhile, Terry Leonard, a former reserve deputy and deputy in Lake County and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, was preparing to begin his new job Monday as a sheriff's deputy in another county. Leonard had been out of work for a couple years, since Lake County canned him for no apparent reason. Leonard was vocal about the misconduct in Lake County. In 2010, before the sheriff's election, he tried to expose it through a website. For that, Lake County Attorney Mitch Young obtained a warrant to search Leonard's home—for an alleged misdemeanor election law violation, for which Leonard was later exonerated.
A couple weeks ago, Leonard graduated from the Montana Law Enforcement Academy. His peers elected him as their class representative, honoring him with the Don Williams Award. He gave a speech. Leonard also earned the Joe May Leadership Award, given to the officer who displays outstanding leadership.