The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office has launched a criminal investigation into one of its own corrections deputies over the alleged misuse of vaccination cards.
A law enforcement deputy for Sheriff Mike Reese has executed a search warrant on the home of Robert J. Haney, enlisting the help of the Clark County Sheriff's Office to do so, the Portland Tribune has learned.
In response to requests for information about the case, a spokesman for the sheriff's office issued a statement late Friday afternoon, June 4.
"The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office has opened a criminal investigation into a report of a staff member misusing vaccination cards," Communications Director Chris Liedle wrote in an email. "The involved employee was placed on paid administrative leave on May 20, 2021, pending the outcome of the investigation per policy."
He declined to provide additional comment, but said, "Allegations of misconduct are serious matters for public safety agencies. Community trust is the foundation upon which we build our legitimacy as public safety professionals. Our profession's credibility is damaged when any member engages, or is accused of engaging, in illegal actions or misconduct. As we review this investigation or if additional information comes to light, we will take immediate, appropriate action."
The union representing Haney, the Multnomah County Corrections Deputies Association, did not respond to a request for comment.
No charges have been filed against Haney, and the existence of a criminal investigation is not proof of guilt.
Vaccination cards have become a contentious topic as discussion grows about requiring them to access different venues, workplaces or events.
Haney has retained a well-regarded criminal defense lawyer, Christine Mascal, an ex-prosecutor who frequently represents law enforcement officials.
Asked about Haney, Mascal said in an email she is "unable to discuss anything at this time."
A Clark County Superior Court official was unable to locate a search warrant for the case, suggesting it has been sealed.
Law enforcement agencies often rely on outside agencies to investigate their own. In this case, Sheriff Reese is using his own investigator.
That investigator is working with the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office on the case. However, he has not yet referred the investigation for a determination on whether sufficient evidence exists to prosecute, according to a records request.
Haney was hired by the Multnomah sheriff's office in May 1998.
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