Oregon Dept. of Justice finishes investigation into allegations - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Oregon Dept. of Justice finishes investigation into allegations of misconduct within Stanfield PD

Posted: Updated:

STANFIELD, OR. -- The Oregon Department of Justice has finished a several month long investigation into the Stanfield Police Department, regarding accusations of criminal misconduct. 

The Oregon Department of Justice started investigating the small Stanfield Police Department after one of it's own officers reported violations. The department recently released the results from their investigation. In it, they say the Police Chief and the department's only Lieutenant committed several troubling policy violations. 

The City of Stanfield Police Department has only four uniformed officers on staff; the chief, a lieutenant, and two officers. 

The investigation looked into three different instances. The first included Lt. Troy Tombs seizing two large marijuana plants from a home in June. Later that year, Tombs noticed the plants were "molding and rotten and needed to be destroyed". Tombs had the public works director throw the marijuana into the compost but "the destruction of the plants was not documented."

"I know I'm ultimately responsible," Police Chief Bryon Zumwalt told investigators. "But no I don't babysit every case."

A second case involved a DUI arrest performed by Chief Zumwalt. During the arrest, Zumwalt told investigators that a "gun was taken (from the suspect) for 'safe keeping'".

But the investigators found, that property was not secured properly. In fact, Zumwalt kept the gun "under the seat in the backseat of his department pickup" and "other than the truck being locked, the weapon was unsecured".

"For that first couple days it was like, 'oh he'll be back to get it and then it never happened and it just fell through," Chief Zumwalt said.

The final incident was the review of a newly hired reserve officer named Jesse Netwon. "Tombs acknowledged that he had not done a criminal history check on Newton" at all before he was hired.     

We tried to talk to someone inside the department but the door was locked and no one seemed to be there. We also left several voice mails but our calls were never returned. 

In a two page letter, the Oregon Department of Justice said they "will not be pursuing a criminal prosecution of this matter" because "while failing to meet professional standards, (the three incidents) does not rise to the level of criminal conduct."