Roosevelt County sheriff found sleeping on sidewalk, suspected to be intoxicated

2014-08-28T06:05:00Z 2014-09-12T11:35:04Z Roosevelt County sheriff found sleeping on sidewalk, suspected to be intoxicatedBy NICK BALATSOS nbalatsos@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Two Wolf Point police officers on patrol found Roosevelt County Sheriff Freedom Crawford, who they suspected was intoxicated, sleeping on a sidewalk in Wolf Point on Aug. 14.

According to police records, Officer Joey Olsen spotted a man lying on the sidewalk in the 600 block of Knapp Street at about 3:30 a.m.

The officers suspected the man to be "intoxicated and sleeping," something that's not uncommon in Wolf Point, said Wolf Point Lt. Brian Irwin.

After the officers identified the man as the sheriff, they brought him to his in-laws' house upon Crawford's request, Irwin said. 

Crawford, 37, wasn't cited for the incident. It's unclear whether disciplinary action was taken against him at the sheriff's office.

When asked about it Friday, Crawford declined to comment but said, "it sounds like small-town politics to me." 

Crawford has been arrested for at least one alcohol-related incident in the past. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to assault after he was accused of throwing another man through a window during a 2011 bar brawl in Lewistown.

Before sentencing, Crawford completed a 28-day rehab program, after which he told The Associated Press that he experienced a spiritual awakening and acknowledged having a problem with alcohol.

This year, Crawford is up for re-election. On Nov. 4, Crawford will face Jason Frederick in the polls.

Frederick handily beat Crawford during the primary, with 1,521 votes to Crawford's 231, according to the Montana Secretary of State's Office. The sheriff's race is nonpartisan, and the two candidates with the most votes in the primary advance to the general election.

A month after then-Undersheriff Frederick announced his candidacy for sheriff, Crawford demoted him. 

"The chain of command structure of the sheriff’s office must be clear and concise," he wrote in a letter to the public. 

Crawford promoted then-Deputy John Summers to take over. 

Summers said he had no idea about the Aug. 14 incident. 

Crawford gets paid $53,000 a year for his duties as sheriff and another $3,000 for his coroner duties, according to the Roosevelt County Clerk and Recorder's Office. 

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