EVERETT, Wash. -- Newly-elected Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney said Tuesday he is reinstating two deputies who were fired by the previous sheriff.
Master Patrol Deputy Matt Boice and Deputy Evan Twedt will be rehired by the department, Fortney wrote in a memo to the sheriff's association.
The two had been terminated after an internal investigation found they searched a suspect’s car without a warrant and then tried to cover it up. The sheriff at the time, Ty Trenary, accused the pair of dishonesty and other policy violations.
Trenary said the deputies claimed to be taking inventory of a vehicle that had been seized on Machias Road when its owner was arrested on a drug charge on June 10, 2017, the investigation found. In reality, they were conducting a criminal investigation, it said, and when they later applied for a search warrant, they failed to tell the judge they had already looked in the trunk and found a shotgun.
“After a thorough and impartial investigation we found that these two deputy sheriffs had not only conducted an illegal search, but did it in a way that made it clear that they knew what they were doing was wrong,” Trenary wrote in a decision letter on Nov. 1, 2019.
Back in November, Fortney claimed that the firings were politically motivated, saying that the two fired deputies supported Fortney's campaign.
"I think if you could take their names out of it and replace them with different names, I don't know if somebody would've been terminated in that same set of circumstances," he said.
This is the third fired deputy that Fortney has reinstated since he took over as sheriff. He reinstated Dep. Arthur Wallin earlier this month.
Wallin was fired by Trenary after a deadly 2018 shooting.
During a Tuesday press conference, Fortney addressed concerns that he was hiring back his 'friends' who supported him from the campaign last year.
"I know what this looks like. Fortney's coming in, Adam`s coming in and he's reinstating all of his friends. I understand that it may take some more time to build some trust with the community, maybe even with you folks, I get that. I just want to make this very clear, that's not what`s going on here," Fortney said.
Moving forward, Fortney said he plans on instituting clearer rules for deputy conduct out in field.
"I don`t want deputies out there individually interpreting what they think the case law says. That`s a recipe for disaster. And maybe the reason why we`re in the position we`re in today," he said.
When asked if there were other deputies who he was considering re-hiring.
"Corrections has asked me to look at one, I don't have all of the information yet. So if you ask me law enforcement personnel, the answer is no, I'm done," he said.