When the Attorney General’s Office began a criminal investigation into elected Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer in late April, the Pierce County Council-initiated independent investigation was partially paused.
At the time Brian Moran, the former U.S. Attorney who Council hired in early April to conduct the independent investigation, stated the criminal investigation took precedence, in part because of the important constitutional rights of any person who is the subject of the criminal investigation. After communication with the Attorney General’s office, Moran therefore paused some aspects of the investigation but continued to obtain some witness statements and review documents.
Council expects Moran to announce the results of his independent investigation shortly after the Attorney General’s Office announces the results of its criminal investigation into the sheriff.
The Council-initiated investigation is civil in nature; the Attorney General’s Office investigation is criminal and will determine whether criminal charges are warranted.
Under the scope of work approved by Council and agreed to by Moran, Moran was instructed to do the following:
- Determine the facts of what occurred during the incident on January 27, 2021, in which the Sheriff requested assistance from dispatch, including the response to the request, the law enforcement investigation of the incident, and statements made thereafter. To the extent possible, the investigation is to resolve disputed facts and versions, and include investigation of motivations and states of mind of those involved, including potential biases or prejudices.
- Determine whether the Sheriff, during the January 27 incident, misused his authority, deviated from standard or required law enforcement standards (including honesty), violated any Sheriff’s Department policy or regulation, or violated any criminal law.
- The investigator shall consider whether investigating other conduct of the Sheriff could help determine whether the January 27 incident was a misuse of authority, a deviation from standards, or a violation of policy or law or help determine whether there is a pattern of the same. The investigator has discretion to make such investigations, including investigation of actions taken before the Sheriff took office but while he was the Sheriff’s Public Information Officer. Investigation of other conduct shall be limited only to those incidents relevant to determining whether there is a pattern of misuse of authority, deviation from standards, or a violation of policy or law, and shall not extend to any incidents earlier than January 1, 2020, without specific authorization from the Council. The investigator’s report to Council shall include the investigator’s reasons for investigating or not investigating other conduct and report any relevant findings or conclusions related to other conduct.
- If the Investigator determines that there was a misuse of authority, a deviation from standards, or a violation of policy or law, determine what discipline could be recommended if a Deputy Sheriff or other non-elected employee of the Sheriff’s Department had so acted.
- If the investigator determines that there was a misuse of authority, a deviation from standards, or a violation of policy or law, the investigator may provide any appropriate recommendations for oversight or other procedures that could prevent or discourage similar misconduct in the future by any person serving as sheriff.