San Juan sheriff, deputies to remain on duty despite charges

Published on May 16, 2017 at 12:14PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — San Juan County Commissioners say they won’t put their sheriff and two deputies on administrative leave even though the three lawmen are facing charges. Sheriff Richard Eldredge was charged Friday with threatening an employee in 2015 with a rifle, failing to properly carry out an investigation of the incident and then firing the staffer in retaliation. Two of his deputies were also charged. San Juan County’s three commissioners said in a statement Monday that the sheriff’s office only has 11 officers, including the sheriff, to provide law enforcement for the county. They say putting three officers on leave would “create an undue public safety risk.” The county has a population of about 17,000 in an area larger than New Jersey. Eldredge’s attorney Peter Stirba says he’s confident his client will be vindicated. The two deputies don’t yet have attorneys.