YAKIMA -- A Yakima County sheriff's sergeant could be disciplined for allegedly refusing to help a Selah police officer who was involved in the rape arrest of Deputy Sean Moore.
Sheriff Ken Irwin confirmed that he ordered an internal investigation into the actions of veteran Sgt. George Town after receiving a complaint about Town from Selah police Chief Stacy Dwarshuis earlier this month.
According to a memo obtained by the Yakima Herald-Republic, Dwarshuis complained that Town had refused to assist Selah police Officer Rich Brumley on a minor theft case. Brumley was part of the arrest last month of Deputy Sean Moore, a friend and colleague of Town's.
"One can surmise that Sergeant Town's actions are a direct result of his belief that this department is maliciously persecuting a fellow law enforcement officer," wrote Dwarshuis, who was on vacation this week and unavailable for comment.
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Town could not be reached for comment.
The memo is just the latest evidence of tension within the local law enforcement community since Moore's arrest last month. Some officers have complained the deputy received special visitation privileges at the county jail shortly after his arrest.
Moore, 37, is accused of breaking into the home of a Selah woman that he knew and, while on duty and in uniform earlier the same day, Oct. 24, threatening her male friend at gunpoint. In a court appearance last week, he pleaded innocent to multiple charges of rape and assault.
Acting on records requests from the Herald-Republic, Selah city officials released several documents last week that describe Brumley's request for assistance and Town's explanation that no one was available. They also released a transcript of related dispatch tapes.
According to reports, Brumley had seized several possibly stolen credit cards as part of a traffic stop the night of Nov. 10 and requested that a deputy contact the card's owner in Tieton.
The dispatch transcript shows that Town refused to help after asking a dispatcher if Brumley was the officer making the request.
"From Rich Brumley in Selah?" Town asked.
"Yeah," the dispatcher responded.
"We have no units available," Town replied.
The dispatcher then can be heard whispering to a colleague that "somebody's getting a raw end" just before calling Brumley to inform him that no deputies were available.
Irwin said he asked Town's supervisor, Lt. Brian Winter, to investigate the complaint and expects to have a "quick turnaround" on the matter within 30 days. He also denied any suggestion the incident was suggestive of larger tension between his agency and Selah police.
"It was a singular act, and it's being reviewed," he said.
As for complaints about Moore receiving special visitation privileges at the county jail, Irwin said he was aware of the complaints but felt that Corrections Director Ed Campbell had taken steps to address them.
Irwin said he was allowed to meet with Moore shortly after his arrest as a "professional courtesy."
"It's a fine line we have to walk. It truly is," he said. "This is where the professionalism has to show through. We respect the other agencies that have to be involved in this. But at the same time your heart goes out to Sean and all the families involved as well."
Campbell, a former sheriff's deputy who was a top aide to Irwin before taking over at the Department of Corrections last year, said the normally friendly relationship between jail staff and law enforcement has put a strain on his staff.
"I had to step in from my level and make sure we didn't treat Sean any differently than anybody," he said. "Quite honestly, Sean has to be treated like everybody else in here."