LIBERTY, Mo. — The Clay County, Missouri Sheriffs Office has launched an investigation into two of its own deputies.
That investigation involves video of their behavior at a traffic safety training conference. The video appears to have been posted to social media by one of the deputies himself.
July’s Missouri Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Advisory Council conference in Lake Ozark featured presentations from Mothers against Drunk Driving and DWI enforcement strategy classes.
But according to a social media post which appears to have been a Snapchat story shared with FOX4 there was also “pre-conference drinking” and “lots of drinking tonight” during at least two of the Clay County deputies work conference trip.
“It’s 2:15 in the morning and we’ve been drinking since like 5, 6 o’clock,” one deputy said in the video.
“I’ve had a Natty pack,” the other deputy explained.
The Clay County Sheriffs Office confirms both men are Clay County deputies. FOX4 is not showing their faces or identifying them by name as they remain on active duty.
One of them is seen in a photo urinating off the third floor balcony. An accompanying caption in the post said “ya we are having a great time go LETSAC.”
Former Park University Criminology Chair and longtime KCPD officer asst. professor emeritus John Hamilton says he instructs students to be mindful of public perception.
“When people are public employees the public has an expectation that they are professional, they are responsible and they are doing the things that they should be doing. Those kinds of images are certainly damaging to something like that,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton said it may only make that perception worse the video was posted from a conference where law enforcement can learn valuable tools, like the drug impairment evaluation training the deputies said in the video was scheduled later that day.
“Tune in for the DWI Traffic Safety Unit Dres (Drug Recognition Evaluations) and where we’re at after drinking pretty much all night long. And I still have more beer in the cooler thing-amabobber,” the deputy slurred.
“When its 2 o’clock in the morning, and my experience has been that the sessions usually start at 8 or 8:30 in the morning the question is are you going to be there, are you going to make it, how much are you going to take in? I think those are fair questions for the public to ask when the public is probably funding the training opportunities,” Hamilton said.
“We expect deputies to be professional and represent the Sheriff’s Office with dignity and respect both on and off duty, particularly at a professional conference,” Clay County Sheriff’s Office Public Relations Manager wrote in an email.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office says findings from the internal investigation will be presented to the deputies’ chain of command to determine what discipline may be appropriate. Both the sheriff’s office and deputies declined an on-camera interview or further comment.
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