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By Huckleberry Ulbricht

October 31, 2023

*This article has been a work in progress for some time now and was mostly written before the investigation of the death of an inmate (more on that towards end of article) which happened on October 30, 2023.

The Juneau County Herald has received detailed allegations from multiple sources detailing a multitude of issues within the Juneau County Sheriffs Office and Jail. According to the allegations there are cases of sexual harassment/misconduct, mishandling medication, missing drugs, falsified documentation, uncertified employees and more.

According to the statements provided by sources which list in great detail events that took place include:

In Feb 2023, a deputy was accused of accessing the medical office to sleep while on
duty. In early 2022, 2 deputies made comments that concerned staff for their safety. It was brought to the attention of responsible staff whom brushed it off. It was escalated but the reporting parties feel it was still minimally handled. It’s said that a staff member who was in charge further reinforced retaliative behavior within the jail toward the employee who raised concerns.
One of the deputies was posting cryptic messages on social media, to include
photos of deceased infant goats. He also has a history of erratic and
concerning behaviors within the jail – while acting as Central, he refused
to unlock the door to allow another jail employee into lower while he berated
her after becoming upset. Supposedly the reason the deputy was upset was because they mentioned several medication mistakes.

Responsible staff did not take action regarding this
behavior either. It wasn’t until deputies told the affected employee who was locked in to write a formal
complaint, so it’s documented. The responsible staff member became upset and said “this
isn’t what we talked about”.
One deputy is alleged to have said to another that when he drinks at
night, he has to disassemble his firearm and hide the pieces around his
home to avoid “eating his gun.” It was discovered after responsible staff
refused to act on this that he made suicidal threats to another county
employee who then drove to his home where he proceeded to make
sexual advances toward her. The text messages were shown to ranking staff made by the male deputy.

It was reported by another source that the only thing that was done involving this behavior was one or both of the deputies was stripped of their service weapon for 1 day. A length of time the source feels in inadeqeut given the severity of the deputies actions.

Further allegations detail falsifying documents to cover up numerous medication errors. According to sources:

Despite med errors being brought to the ranking staffs attention several times, it was not addressed until they knew that a specific inmates medical
records would be used in court, i.e. reviewed by an outside party. This is concerning. She refused to adjust policy to allow for a procedure when
medication errors were committed. Instead, the solution was to have someone review the medication administration records
nightly and have deputies sign them off without accounting for whether the doses were actually administered or the medications were actually
accounted for.

If true this could result in multiple deputies being placed on the Brady List. The Brady List is a list of officers/deputies etc who are found to be untruthful and can be disqualified from testifying in court as their honesty, integrity are compromised and can not be deemed to be a truthful and reliable witness. When medical charts are being used in court it could be concluded that those charts are evidence and the tampering or altering those records can bring about other serious criminal charges. Altering can include adding signatures well after the fact from when the documents should have been signed attesting that something was done. Furthermore, refusing to have a procedure in place to document medication errors is a dangerous issue as it leaves no paper trail of problem employees and is information that should be known for future reference should action need to be taken. Not documenting it makes it appear as if it never happens or that it is not a problem. These kinds of errors need documentation, failure to do so is nothing short of a cover-up.

Allegations continue that a deputy failed Jail School but was still allowed to continue employment and was involved in many incidents which are said to be a cause for safety concerns, and other violations including sleeping while on duty, fraternization with inmates, performing cavity searches and removing drugs despite not being qualified to perform such searches, bribing inmates with commissary items and more. According to the Source:

Inappropriate follow up regarding repetitive safety concerns involving a single female deputy seems to have gone unaddressed according to sources from within the department. One particular deputy was mentioned to have the following issues:
Photos were taken of the deputy sleeping on duty. Deputy was seen sitting at a table in the female
Huber Dorm with her back to two inmates allowing them to braid her hair. (a clear
safety concern). This was taken to a supervisory staff member. It is alleged the deputy enter a male pod displaying incredibly
suggestive and flirtatious body language with several inmates. The deputy was given a
used white tee shirt from one of the inmates and proceeded to spend over 15
additional minutes in the pod with the shirt hanging around her neck surrounded by inmates. Concerns raised indicated that it was a serious safety issue.
The same deputy allegedly admitted to bribing a mentally ill patient with commissary items and time
in a pod. This was not corrected and excuses were made for her by supervisory when concerns were brought to their
attention. She was found to be bribing other behavioral inmates with commissary items, as well. Other concerns raise for this same deputy include:
○ She changed over two female inmates at once (against policy).
○ 3/2023 wrote a report detailing how she manually located and removed drugs from an inmate’s vagina despite not being jail certified, qualified, or approved to
perform a body cavity search.
○ Rather than correcting these behaviors, she was given “special tasks” to include planting a sound recording device inside a pod.
○ It is also documented that the deputy failed jail school, and was told she would be terminated due to not being certified. Instead, she was “made a
deal” to drop her to part time to get around this. The deputy remained working full time with no obvious restrictions or reeducation.

In the Winter of 2021, according to sources, a case manager was allegedly found to have exposed her breasts to a male deputy in the restroom in Central while working. Both Staff members were spoken to about the incident and ordered to attend sexual harassment training and given one day off work. Sources say neither of the employees attended the training and frequently joked about this.

A ranking staff member is alleged to have tased an inmate with known psychosis and significant mental health concerns, despite all four limbs being restrained. Not only is it alleged that the incident was never corrected, the ranking staff member was allowed to transport him again. The same ranking staff member has apparently spoke in Central to other deputies about his preference for “fucking a horse” over a specific female inmate while watching them through the glass.

A deputy is said to have had to override a decision by a ranking staff member when that ranking staff member refused to allow staff to contact a registered nurse to approve continuing medications. Without the cardiac medications things could have ended very poorly for the inmate, even if missed for a single day.

Many other allegations/concerns raise include:

-A County owned vehicle was used for private use to take trips out west on hunting trips.
-A deputy shared a control substance with another deputy.
-An employee with a history of sexual harassment by way of sending unwanted sexually explicit materials to current and former employees.
-Two inmates being changed over at the same time. This is said to be against policy.
-Missing boxes of Narcan with no record of who took them or where they went.
-The Jail Kitchen was unable/unwilling to provide a mechanically soft diet for an inmate with a broken jaw and instead the inmate lived on boost until released. The inmate is said to have had his jaw broken while in the jail.
-Retaliation against employees who speak up about misconduct.

The numerous allegations that have been raised are quite concerning and sources say they want to see those involved held accountable and new procedures be implemented. After speaking with Sheriff Zobal, he declined to comment on the allegations.

On October 30, 2023, an inmate was found unresponsive in the jail and was pronounced dead after apparent attempts to revive the individual. The death of the inmate is being investigated by Vernon County Sheriffs Dept. Juneau County Sheriffs Dept did not release any more information at this time and it is unclear whether or not the death could have been a result or could have been prevented by the Juneau County Sheriffs Office/Jail. Neither the Juneau or Vernon County Sheriffs Office would release the name at the time of publishing this article.

*Please remember, these are only allegations that were made by concerned sources who are either currently working within the department or have worked within the department previously. The purpose in publishing these is to bring about change in policy and procedures and push for accountability within the department.