Internal Investigation into Jail Deputy’s Actions
On January 25, 2017, there was an inmate disturbance in a jail housing area day room. An investigation into the disturbance revealed inmates from two housing areas were in the same day room contrary to jail procedures. As the investigation continued, it was determined an employee had violated policies regarding inmate movement and an internal investigation was immediately started.
In addition to the policy violations regarding inmate movement, the internal investigation showed the employee accessed contact information of a victim in a court case via the Colorado State Courts – Data Access website, a controlled government information system. The information was accessed in the presence of an inmate who is the suspect in a case involving that victim. The employee had no legitimate business reason to access the information. A determination was then made to start a criminal investigation as well. Investigators contacted the victim whose information was accessed and did not find evidence that the information was used to commit any criminal offenses. The employee was placed on administrative leave during the course of the investigations.
Criminal investigators consulted with the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office on February 23, 2017 and the following criminal charge was applicable: C.R.S. 18-5.5-102 Computer Crime (Class 2 Misdemeanor).
On February 27, 2017, the involved employee, Bethanie Williamson, resigned from employment with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office prior to the completion of the internal investigation and determination of disciplinary action. She is 37 years of age and began her employment as a non-certified jail deputy on February 7, 2007. She was issued a summons for the aforementioned misdemeanor charge.
Sheriff Smith said, “Corrections deputies have extremely difficult jobs. They spend their shift locked inside the jail, supervising typically between 60 and 80 inmates. They must walk a very delicate line, assuring the safety of the community as well as the safety of the inmates in custody. We hold no tolerance for abuse of those in custody, but deputies can never forge personal bonds with inmates.
“When it comes to maintaining records, deputies have access to sensitive information they are not authorized to release to the general public even if that information can be obtained from other sources.
If a deputy violates internal policies or certainly the law, they will be held accountable.
“The actions in this case do not reflect the values and principles of the men and women of the Larimer County Sheriff's Office. We have over 360 dedicated employees who perform valiantly in the most trying conditions.”
No further information will be released at this time.
The charges are merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.