BEND, Ore. - Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson confirmed publicly Friday that Capt. Scott Beard is the officer on paid administrative leave due to being suspected of stealing money from several multiagency law enforcement accounts, as reported Wednesday by NewsChannel 21.
A source familiar with the investigation had confirmed the reports to KTVZ recently. NewsChannel 21 is protecting the source's identity because the person is not authorized to speak publicly on the case.
NewsChannel 21 also learned late this week that Beard was in charge of all finances and handled all money transactions for the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team. The multi-agency law enforcement entity collects up to $100,000 a year in criminal-related money and assets.
Nelson has agreed to sit down with NewsChannel 21 next week to discuss how the money is managed.
Here's the full text of the announcement issued Friday by Sheriff Nelson:
"The Sheriff's Office is confirming the Detective Division Captain, Scott Beard, was the supervisor placed on paid administrative leave on September 23, 2015. This leave is a result of a pending federal and administrative investigation relating to the accounting of funds from several law enforcement accounts.
"Sheriff L. Shane Nelson stated, "The Sheriff's Office continues to cooperate with the federal authorities in this investigation and remains in regular contact with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office. After consultation with the federal authorities, I feel it is paramount for public interest to release the name since it is a high-ranking, long-term employee with the Sheriff's Office."
"I know it is imperative that our citizens receive information as soon as I'm able to share it. I absolutely want to be transparent, so as soon as I am able to talk about any information that's uncovered, or comes out of the investigation, I will," Sheriff Nelson said.
Here's Kandra's Wednesday story:
Last week, an employee with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office confirmed Beard is on paid administrative leave. Sheriff Shane Nelson declined to say why Beard is not working currently. He also said he could not confirm whether Beard is being investigated for stealing.
Last month, Nelson announced an employee was being investigated by his office, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Nelson said a county audit found money was missing from accounts used for police investigations. Nelson would not say how much money is allegedly missing, or how that money is used in investigations.
He said protecting the integrity of the investigation is critical.
"I do know that it is imperative that our citizens get information as soon as I'm able to share it," Nelson said Wednesday. "I absolutely want to be transparent, so as soon as I can talk about any information that's uncovered, or comes out of the investigation, I'm going to do so."
The sheriff's office website says Beard has served as a detective's captain since 2012. He was hired by the department in 2002.
NewsChannel 21 reached out to Beard for comment last week, but has received no response.
Nelson also declined to say whether more than one employee is being investigated.
KTVZ filed a request, but was denied specific public records regarding funds the sheriff's office collects for several police agencies through a mutual asset forfeiture program.
That program, through the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team, seizes money used in criminal activities.
After the money is confiscated, it is divided among several state and local programs and agencies. Part of the money goes back to law enforcement agencies, to be used in their investigations and work.
FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said she could not confirm whether the agency is investigating the case.
NewsChannel 21 is working to learn more and will keep you updated on the latest developments.