Three Multnomah County deputies who shared the whereabouts of undocumented immigrants with federal agents last year did not intentionally break office policy and won't be disciplined, the sheriff's office says.
In an email this afternoon, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office says a months-long investigation into the deputies' contact with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents "revealed areas where policy direction was not clear, and members were conducting business within the parameters provided by a previous administration. The case files have been closed with a finding of not sustained."
The MCSO began investigating deputies conduct early this year, after it became clear that Close Street deputies were helping ICE agents locate people wanted for potentially violating immigration law. As revealed in emails obtained by the Portland Tribune, deputies Keith Fisher, Larry Wenzel, and Karl Kolberg all had interactions with ICE agents that raised questions about whether they were violating Oregon laws against using public resources to enforce immigration law, to say nothing of the MCSO's own "sanctuary" policies.
The emails show the deputies told ICE agents where defendants would be on certain dates and times, or when at least one defendant was being released from jail. After nearly eight months making up its mind, the sheriff's office now says those interactions don't merit discipline. The office further argues that a policy Sheriff Mike Reese enacted in February "clearly defined expectations for MCSO staff in accordance with both Oregon Revised Statue and federal case law."
The new policy states, in part: "MCSO does not use agency monies, equipment or personnel to enforce federal immigration law, nor does MCSO hold people in custody pursuant to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers."
It also says: "Should ICE request information from MCSO, members shall route the request to the Records Unit Manager, who will provide no greater information than is available to the public."
Asked whether the three deputies' actions would have run afoul of the new policy, MCSO spokesperson Lt. Chad Gaidos said only that "the policy released in February will prevent such activity from happening in the future."
Reese isn't available to speak about the matter, Gaidos says.