Lake County Undersheriff Karey Reynolds, the subject of a perjury investigation by the Montana Department of Justice, announced his resignation Jan. 27.
Reynolds says the decision has nothing to do with the state's investigation, but rather "restructuring of the [sheriff's] office."
"It was decided that the office of the undersheriff was going to handle different roles," Reynolds says, "and to be honest with you, I am not the best man for that job...I think there is another individual who can handle that better. And I'm not going to stand in the citizens' way of getting things accomplished."
Reynolds adds that the complaint against himthat he misrepresented his work history prior to Lake County Sheriff Jay Doyle choosing him as undersheriff last yearis "totally unfounded."
It's the latest incident in a string of allegations of misconduct by officers in Lake County.
Early last year, the Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training Council, or POST, requested records to verify Reynolds's employment with the Ronan Police Department. To be eligible for undersheriff, he couldn't have had a break in service exceeding 36 months.
Ronan Police Chief Dan Wadsworth provided the documentation. But because Wadsworth was suspected of falsifying documents in the past, POST Director Wayne Ternes decided to investigate further Reynolds's claimed employment with the Ronan Police Department. The agency couldn't verify his employment, so it ordered Reynolds to complete a 12-week basic-training course at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy, in Helena. Reynolds graduated Dec. 9.
Meanwhile, Doyle asked the state attorney general's office to conduct an investigation, which is underway.
It appears Reynolds could have perjured himself on search warrant applications he signed, such as one in a rape case. In that document he claims "20 years prior law enforcement experience" and that he had "received training in recognizing and investigating sexual assault and crimes in general." Reynolds's POST records do not show training in investigating sex crimes.
"We are pursuing the allegation from a criminal standpoint, and nothing changes by Mr. Reynolds resigning as undersheriff," Montana Department of Justice spokesman John Doran says.
Lake County Detective Dan Yonkin will take over as undersheriff on Feb. 14.