State investigates Sheriff’s Office complaint

2010-06-09T16:03:00Z State investigates Sheriff’s Office complaintGazette Staff The Billings Gazette
June 09, 2010 4:03 pm  • 

The state Division of Criminal Investigation confirmed Wednesday that investigators are looking into five Yellowstone County sheriff’s deputies for unauthorized access to a criminal justice database.

Montana Department of Justice spokeswoman Judy Beck said that DCI investigator Marvin Dahl is investigating the deputies, but she said she couldn’t release much more information. Beck said an employee in the Sheriff’s Office lodged the complaint with the state. It was  unclear who the deputies were looking up in the database.

Beck said Sheriff Jay Bell was involved in requesting the investigation on April 16, and any findings from DCI will be forwarded to the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office. Bell couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday. County prosecutors said that to avoid any conflicts, they wouldn’t be involved in bringing any possible charges.

“We’ve had no contact with the Division of Criminal Investigation but I am aware there’s an investigation,” Chief Criminal Deputy County Attorney Rod Souza said. “And if prosecution is sought, once the investigation is completed, it will be conflicted out of our office.”

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