- Jul 23, 2007
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- The good ole USA
The above Article Seems to Be Gone so Here it is..
Ex-sheriff becomes Ravalli County undersheriffBy JOHN CRAMER Ravalli Republic
HAMILTON - Former Ravalli County Sheriff Perry Johnson has been named as the department's new undersheriff.He replaces Kevin McConnell, who resigned July 23 in the wake of an investigation into a domestic altercation at his home.McConnell was put on administrative leave July 18 after his wife, Angela, told 9-1-1 dispatchers that he was driving while drunk and that a physical altercation had occurred between them at their home.
McConnell's resignation was the second allegation of wrongdoing against sheriff's personnel in recent weeks.Sgt. Jeff Fowler was fired Tuesday after being put on administrative leave in connection with the theft of ammunition from the sheriff's office in June.
On Friday, the Montana Department of Criminal Investigations sent its case on Fowler to the state Attorney General's Office.Meanwhile, Johnson - who was a sheriff's detective after stepping down as sheriff - was promoted this week because of his experience, training and education and his familiarity with the sheriff's office, the community and local issues, Sheriff Chris Hoffman said.“The choice was very obvious,” Hoffman said. “Perry's qualifications for us at this time make him uniquely qualified.”Johnson said he was pleased to accept the promotion.“I like working with Chris because we have the same values,” he said.
Johnson, 52, started his law enforcement career as a sheriff's patrol deputy in 1986. He joined the Hamilton police department in 1989 as a patrol officer and later served as a detective.In 1998, he became undersheriff and served one term as sheriff from 1998 to 2002. He didn't seek re-election, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. He endorsed Hoffman in the 2002 election.Since then, Johnson has served as a sheriff's detective, handling homicides, missing persons, embezzlement and other cases. His most prominent investigation as a detective was a triple homicide in Florence in 2001.Johnson has completed training at the FBI and other national and state law enforcement institutes.
He said his biggest challenge is reassuring the sheriff's staff that it is one of the best in the state.Johnson said he tried to persuade McConnell not to resign, but that McConnell felt stepping down was in the best interest of his family.“I admire and respect him and I understand his motives,” Johnson said. “We'll miss him terribly. He's a real positive, moral and ethical guy.
I've got some big shoes to fill.”Hoffman and Johnson said they intend to focus on moving the sheriff's office forward in addressing law enforcement issues and promoting public safety.“Choosing Perry as undersheriff will allow us to continue to provide the best service to the community,” Hoffman said.Johnson said a big challenge for the sheriff's staff will be to communicate effectively with each other, the public and media about public safety issues.
“If we don't adapt to change, we fail,” he said. “We've taken some hits recently, but we've always been supported by the community.”Missoula County Sheriff Mike McMeekin sent his case on McConnell to the state attorney general's office on Monday.In his resignation, McConnell, 44, cited personal and family reasons for leaving the sheriff's office, where he had worked since 1996.He had been undersheriff since 1992 and also served as a patrol deputy, patrol sergeant, search and rescue coordinator, deputy coroner and chief deputy coroner.Reporter John Cramer can be reached at 363-3300 or at [email protected]