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Sheriff candidate says misconduct claims overblown by opponent

In response to statements about prior misconduct in the workplace, a former Columbia County deputy who is challenging Sheriff Jeff Dickerson in the upcoming election says he wants to set the record straight.

The Sheriff’s Office alleged Dave Fuller had been disciplined a number of times during his 29-year career with the department.

Fuller retired at the beginning of September amid an internal investigation into an initially unreported early morning crash on April 1, where investigators suspected the deputy may have been intoxicated. He denied wrongdoing in not reporting the crash and said, while he had “a few drinks” earlier that night, he was not driving drunk (See Sept. 18 Spotlight edition, “Sheriff candidate calls investigation into crash ‘smoke and mirrors’”).

The Spotlight has requested access to both Dickerson’s and Fuller’s disciplinary history. Before he was elected as sheriff, Dickerson served with the Oregon State Police.

While not denying that disciplinary actions had been taken against him over the course of nearly three decades, Fuller said the sheriff’s statements about the nature of the situations — which included refusing to go to a call, not showing up for work and leaving the scene of a crash — were not completely accurate.

“I did get into an argument with a supervisor,” he said, addressing the charge of insubordination. According to Undersheriff Andy Moyer and Dickerson, Fuller was disciplined for getting into an argument with his supervising officer after he refused to go out on a call. “Sheriff Dickerson conveniently omits we were both yelling and swearing and the supervisor and I were both disciplined by him.”

He called the charge that he failed to show up to work “false.”

“I called the office,” he wrote. “... and left a voice mail stating I would not be in that day but would be the next. I personally never asked (the supervisor) if he received the message and don’t intend to now.”

Fuller added he did not “flee” the scene of an accident in 1985 at the start of his career with the Sheriff’s Office. Moyer and Dickerson say Fuller was a passenger in the car, but that the female driver and female passenger were both intoxicated at the time of the crash. They say that Fuller, after checking to make sure everyone was okay, fled the scene. He was later disciplined for this.

“In retrospect, I should have stayed,” Fuller wrote in his letter to the Spotlight. “I left after making sure everyone was okay and they had all my information and knew where to reach me if needed.”

At the time of his retirement this September, the Sheriff’s Office was conducting a personnel investigation after Oregon State Police cited Fuller for not reporting a single-vehicle crash. Fuller said the damage costs to his vehicle were under the required $1,500 amount to require such a report.

Moyer said the Sheriff’s Office suspects Fuller was intoxicated at the time of the crash and that he lied during initial interviews with the department about the incident. Fuller told The Spotlight he had several alcoholic drinks that night during a casino fundraising event, but declined to specify exactly how much he drank.

Fuller wrote that he is not sure what Moyer and Dickerson meant when they said they suspected him of lying in the interviews about the crash.

“I answered the questions as honestly as I could,” he said.