Former Sheriff Ibsen ‘Egregious’ Misconduct Sustained by POST
Former Missoula County Sheriff Carl Ibsen was formally accused of official misconduct in a letter obtained by KGVO News from the Montana Public Safety Standards and Training Council (POST), however the council decided not to revoke his certification.
On January 8 at the POST conference in Helena, Bureau Chief and former Ravalli County Sheriff Perry Johnson detailed the allegations made against Ibsen.
"That you responded in an unprofessional manner to a domestic violence incident and gave inappropriate consideration to a subordinate deputy.
That when the deputy was involved in a domestic violence incident, you did not prepare an appropriate report and used your position as sheriff to conduct an investigation which was not included in any official reports.
That you lied to DCI investigators about contacting (Missoula Police) Chief Brady about the incident and the nature of your conversation to him."
Johnson further wrote, that ‘the allegations of misconduct concerning you, if true, may constitute grounds for sanction, suspension or revocation of your POST certification. Such sanction, suspension or revocation may affect your employability as a public safety officer in the State of Montana or elsewhere.’
Ibsen was given the opportunity to submit a written response to the allegations, along with any supporting documentation he may have for Johnson and the board to consider.
The allegations stem from an incident involving former Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy Paige Pavalone, who was involved in a domestic dispute in 2015.
KGVO News reported in June 2016 regarding the issue.
‘Testimony began on Tuesday at the Grant Creek Inn before Human Rights Commission examiner Caroline Holien in the case of Josh Clark vs Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott.
On the first day of a sparsely-attended session, now-retired Sheriff Carl Ibsen testified on behalf of his former Undersheriff, Josh Clark. Counsel for the County of Missoula, Steve Carey, asked Ibsen about a domestic violence case regarding former Deputy Paige Pavalone in 2014.
Ibsen testified that a friend of Pavalone's had called him regarding the incident, and that he responded to the residence 'only as a friend, not a cop'. Carey then probed Ibsen about a report that was published in the Missoulian newspaper from the Department of Criminal Investigations at the Montana Department of Justice by investigator Brant Light, that was critical of Ibsen's behavior in the matter, calling it 'egregious'. Ibsen said no one even attempted to contact him about the investigation.
"One of the things we do as cops is we investigate everything," Ibsen said. "Doesn't matter if you want to talk to the people involved or not, you talk to everybody. By the wording of the letter (from the AG's office) I would assume I was a prime player in it. I was maybe even the prime focus of it. Nobody from the Attorney General's office or the investigators even talked to me. Nobody tried to get hold of me, and I'm not that hard to find."
"Now, if Sheriff (TJ) McDermott or I or Undersheriff (Josh) Clark or Undersheriff (Jason) Johnson had that happen with one of their detectives, there's a really, really good chance that investigator would not have a job anymore. We talk to everyone involved. But, what appears to be the prime player in this whole incident, the number one 'egregious' action guy, was never even consulted. They never made an attempt to get a hold of me."’
At the January 8 POST conference, Johnson read from a letter written by Brant Light, the Assistant Attorney General and the Chief of the Department of Justice Prosecution Services Bureau to Missoula County Chief Deputy Attorney Jason Marks dated May 14, 2015.
“It states in part, and I quote, 'it is clear to me that prior Missoula County Sheriff Carl Ibsen attempted to handle the matter without a formal investigation of the alleged domestic abuse',” read Johnson. 'The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, upon learning of the alleged domestic dispute involving Pavalone should have immediately called in an outside agency to conduct the investigation. He did not. The actions of the prior Missoula County Sheriff, Carl Ibsen, were simply egregious'.”
Johnson, after cataloging Ibsen’s long law enforcement career, and stating that Ibsen at age 70 would not attempt to reenter law enforcement, made the following statement.
“I would say without minimizing the egregious actions of Mr. Ibsen, I would recommend that this allegation be closed as sustained and no further action of this committee of the POST council.”
A letter has been placed in Ibsen's permanent POST file with all the pertinent facts so that he will never be allowed to work in law enforcement in the future.
The other members of the council concurred with Johnson’s statement. They included John Strandell, Tony Harbaugh and Jim Thomas.