POCATELLO — A former deputy for the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office has filed suit in federal court in Pocatello against the Idaho Peace Officer Standards & Training, claiming a pending decertification process that has taken more than a year has kept him from finding new employment.
The lawsuit filed by an attorney for Trevor Scott Rounds on May 1, names William L. Fink, division administrator for Idaho POST, and seven as yet unnamed people as defendants in the case.
According to the filing, Rounds resigned from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office in December 2011 after more than three years of working there and was notified about a month later that Idaho POST had begun an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Rounds’ resignation.
In March, a POST investigator interviewed Rounds as part of that decertification investigation, and a report was prepared on March 26. The suit says additional action was taken in May and in August, the Idaho Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint for decertification with the POST Council against Rounds.
The suit alleges this filing did not follow POST’s procedures for such matters and the complaint was withdrawn.
In September, Rounds applied for employment with two other local law enforcement agencies and claims he was told by each agency he could not be employed because of the pending decertification.
Last December, Fink sent Rounds an office “Notice of Intent to Decertify and Stipulation,” part of the process to decertify an officer. Rounds’ attorney filed an objection to that notice and its findings and representations.
“As of the filing of this lawsuit, no further action has taken place,” is written in the lawsuit.
The suit claims Idaho POST has violated its own regulations that require the director to make a determination within 28 days and that has caused an unreasonable delay. The suit also claims there is no foundation for decertifying Rounds.
“Based on the presentation of the evidence in the director’s Notice of Intent to Decertify,” there was insufficient bases for decertification, and POST should not be reporting a status to prospective employers which stigmatizes the plaintiff’s reputation until he had had an opportunity to defend himself in a reasonable time,” is written in the suit. “The acts and omissions of the Defendants in violation of Plaintiff’s constitutional rights, privileges or immunities, as aforesaid, were made knowingly, intentionally, maliciously or with reckless or callous disregard for Plaintiff’s rights, by reason of which, plaintiff is entitled to an award of punitive damages in a reasonable sum.”
Rounds is seeking general damages and special damages for economic losses, including past and future lost wages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and interest on special damages.
A call to Rounds’ attorney, Randy Neal of Idaho Falls, to get additional details about the suit have not been returned. A call to the Idaho POST to get details about the decertification process and any information about Rounds’ decertification investigation found that those responsible for dispensing the information were out of the office.