By TCSO Communications Center

Press Release – Citation Issued in Horse Incident

TETON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE (WYOMING)

PRESS RELEASE

August 25, 2017

 

On Friday, August 25, 2017, a Teton County Deputy Sheriff issued Forrest Stearns a citation for cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor in the State of Wyoming.  The cruelty to animals case stemmed from an incident that occurred on Tuesday, August 8th, whereby Mr. Stearns was videotaped next to a horse he had tied to the ground; the horse eventually died.

Earlier on August 25th, Deputy Doug Raffelson interviewed a witness to the incident involving Forrest Stearns tying the horse to the ground.  The witness had left the area soon after the incident of August 8th and went on a backpacking trip and therefore was unavailable for an interview.  The witness had not returned to the area until this week.

The witness was able to provide credible evidence that the horse was tied to the ground for a minimum of three hours.  Prior to receiving this statement, investigators did not believe there was enough substantiation of evidence to warrant the citation.   Forrest Stearns was issued a misdemeanor citation and given a court date of August 31, 2017.

The case will be forwarded to the Teton County and Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for the possible filing of the charges.

 

Sheriff Jim Whalen 732-8201

Press Release – Horse Abuse Incident

From the Office of the Sheriff Teton County, Wyoming Sheriff Jim Whalen

Press Release

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Horse Abuse Incident

On Tuesday August 8, 2017 at 1730 hours Teton County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to an address in Wilson, WY on the report of Cruelty to Animals.  The report stated a horse was tied down in an inhumane manner.  Deputies found the horse was tied down, interviewed the owner and consulted with veterinary experts and the Wyoming Brand Inspector.  It was determined that while outdated, the methods used were legally accepted.

On Wednesday August 9, 2017 the sheriff’s office received information that the horse in question had died overnight.  Deputies returned to the scene and verified the horse had died.  The owner of the horse was interviewed again and cooperated fully with the deputies.  The owner voluntarily surrendered the carcass for further examination and testing.

A veterinarian collected blood, urine and tissue samples that will be sent to the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory for testing to determine a cause of death.

The sheriff’s office is actively investigating the incident to determine if a crime has occurred.

A video of the incident has surfaced on social media and has generated a very emotional reaction.  The sheriff’s office is aware of the video and has obtained a copy as evidence.  While we agree the video elicits a strong emotional response and is difficult to watch, we must investigate the incident in an analytical, fact-based manner.  If the sheriff’s office and the Teton County Attorney’s Office determine there is evidence of a crime, criminal charges will be pursued.

The sheriff’s office has received numerous calls and emails regarding the incident.  Again, we understand the emotionally charged aspect of the incident, but request that only those with direct involvement or witness accounts contact us at this time.  Handling these calls and emails takes important resources away from actively investigating the incident.

 

Detective Sergeant Todd Stanyon

Teton County Sheriffs Office 180 South King Street P.O. Box 1885

Jackson, WY 83001 307.733.4052 www.tetonsheriff.org

TEXT – to – 911

“Contrary to recent reports, you must ALWAYS try to CALL 9-1-1 before you try to text 9-1-1”, reports Terri Sherman, Teton County Sheriff’s Office Communications Manager. “Text-to-911″ is a much slower process and we do not receive accurate location data with it. Call 9-1-1 first and if the cellular call will not connect, then try text. Remember, calling 9-1-1 from a landline will not have as many issues because it is not dependent on cellular coverage.”  See the guidelines below for common Text-to-911 questions.FAQ 4

Oliver Woodward Search Update

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Update for Woodward search 7/6/2017, 5:30pm

On Thursday July 6, 2017 efforts were continued in the search for missing 21 year old Oliver Woodward.  With assistance from multiple agencies the search area was slightly expanded to include more land combers and an underwater sonar.  At the time of this release Mr. Woodward is still missing with no additional information to add.

At the completion of today’s search, efforts will be scaled back.  Missing Person Flyers will continue to be handed out and local fishing, boating and other frequent users of the waterway will be asked to be diligent in their observations.

It is with a heavy heart that we move to the next stage of this event.  Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Oliver Woodward.

Sgt. Lloyd Funk

Teton County Sheriff’s Office 180 South King Street P.O. Box 1885 Jackson, WY 83001 307.733.4052 www.tetonsheriff.org

 

Press Release from 7/5/2017

On, Tuesday July 4, 2017 at 7:46pm the Teton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of two missing persons that had been rafting on the Snake River south of Hoback Junction.  The missing persons were ejected from the raft when it went through rapids known as “Kings Wave”.  The party consisted of 6 persons (4 males and 2 females).

While officers were responding, one of the subjects was located and found to be in good health.  A multi agency search was coordinated and sent to the area to continue the search for the sole missing party, identified as Oliver Woodward, 21 years old.  The search continued until 10:40pm at which time it was suspended due to darkness.

On, Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at 8:00am search efforts were resumed.  Resources include: several watercraft, shore combers and scent dogs.  At the time of this release, July 5, 4:00pm, Mr. Woodward has not been located.  Search efforts are expected to continue for a couple more hours and if unsuccessful will again resume on Thursday, July 6, 2017.

At this time foul play is not suspected.

More information may be released as it is obtained.

Sgt. Lloyd Funk

Teton County Sheriffs Office180 South King Street P.O. Box 1885 Jackson, WY 83001 307.733.4052 www.tetonsheriff.org

Local Immigration Information FAQs

TCSO Patch web small
Local Immigration Information FAQs
As of April 2017

 

Does the Teton County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) enforce federal immigration laws?

Answer: No, the TCSO only enforces Wyoming State Statutes and occasionally Town of Jackson Municipal Codes.

 

If I am living in Teton County and I am undocumented, how can I best avoid being deported?

Answer: The simple answer is to avoid committing criminal offenses that would ultimately lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to investigate you. ICE has communicated to local law enforcement that they have no intentions of seeking out undocumented workers who are living a life free of criminal activity if they have not been deported before. Bottom line, stay out of trouble and obey the law and your odds of having an immigration officer contact you are minimal.

 

Does the TCSO communicate with the Federal Immigration-Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE)?

Answer: Yes, the TCSO has a good working relationship with ICE, who has promised to keep the TCSO informed of their operations when they are working in Teton County.

 

When does the TCSO call ICE related to immigration matters?

Answer: Generally the TCSO Detention Center will telephone ICE when local law enforcement has arrested and booked a person for violating a state statue and the person  is foreign born.

Additionally, if  ICE agents can be of assistance to TCSO investigators in locating a person that is suspected of committing a crime against the State of Wyoming and has fled the jurisdiction of Teton County, then we may seek the assistance of ICE in locating the person.  Often ICE has investigative resources that can be of assistance to our investigators.

 

Who are the ICE agents that work in the Teton County area?

Answer: The Wyoming state field office is located at 150 East B Street Rm 1014 Casper Wyoming 82601 and has only a small number of federal agents who work out of that office. They are supervised by the Denver Regional ICE office located at 12484 East Weaver Place Centennial Colorado  80111. The Casper ICE agents are responsible for investigations involving immigration violations in Wyoming and southern Montana.

 

How often does ICE come to Teton County?

Answer: ICE agents do not come to Teton County on a set schedule, but rather come to Jackson as often as they need to in relation to the investigations they are conducting. The most common visit from ICE to Jackson is to do a routine transfer of an inmate in the Teton County Jail to the custody of ICE.

The second most common visit of ICE to Jackson is when they are here to arrest a handful of “targeted individuals” .  These people typically have a warrant for their arrest. These operations are generally 1-3 days in duration and occur historically three to four times a year.

 

How does ICE decide who they will come and pick up (arrest) from the jail to start deportation proceedings?

Answer: ICE has communicated to local law enforcement that their primary focus is on undocumented individuals who commit crimes that are considered a safety concern for the community. These crimes are typically all felony crimes but can include driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Additionally,  they generally will start deportation proceedings on people who have previously been deported and have returned to the United States.

UPDATE 9/5/17ICE has recently informed local law enforcement that they have made a change in their operational protocols and will now consider arresting individuals with no prior criminal history and no prior deportations.  This means that if they encounter a person and during that encounter they determine the person is in violation of immigration laws, they may take that person into custody for those violations. Sheriff Whalen has informed ICE that people taken into custody for immigration violations (only) will not be booked or held at the Teton County Jail. ICE agents and ICE officials added that they have no intentions of doing mass round ups of undocumented persons in the Jackson area.

 

Does ICE deport people arrested for minor traffic offenses?

Answer: Usually no. Ice has communicated to local law enforcement that they do not have the resources to deport individuals for minor traffic violations, (e.g. speeding, no driver’s license, no insurance, running stop signs or traffic lights, equipment violations etc.) provided they are not habitual offenders of committing minor traffic offenses.

 

Do you know of any plans that ICE has to conduct “general round-ups” of undocumented persons?

Answer: ICE has communicated to local law enforcement that they have no intentions of performing a “general round-up” of undocumented people living in Teton County. Meaning, they do not intend to go around the community randomly looking for people who may be living here undocumented, and detain them to investigate their immigration status. The goal of ICE is to locate the “targeted” criminal alien and to take them into custody for removal through a deportation proceeding.

 

Will local law enforcement notify the community if they are aware that ICE is planning to come to Teton County to perform a search for “targeted” individuals?

Answer:  Local law enforcement WILL NOT notify the public if ICE is coming to Jackson to arrest specific “targeted” individuals whom they have identified for arrest and deportation.  Many of these individuals have criminal backgrounds and records that would create an officer safety concern for the ICE agents if they did not have the element of surprise.  Nor would local law enforcement want to impede the ICE agents from being able to do their job of removing individuals from the community that pose a safety risk.

 

If ICE contacted local law enforcement and indicated they would be coming to Jackson to do a “general round-up” or a “door-to-door sweep” would local law enforcement notify the public?

Answer: Yes, though ICE has communicated that they have no intentions of doing an operation of this nature.

 

Does the TCSO intend to participate in the 287(g) program that allows local officers to enforce federal immigration laws?

Answer: No, the TCSO has no plans to participate in the 287(g) program.  Additionally, we know of no Wyoming state law that allows for  Wyoming peace officers to enforce federal immigration law.

 

Is there ever a time when a deputy sheriff would need to know my immigration status?

Answer: Typically no, but deputies sometimes will need to inquire if it is pertinent to their investigation.   Deputies will not take someone into custody merely based upon them learning that someone is undocumented. One of the responsibilities of law enforcement when issuing a citation is to determine the identity of the person and to establish some reasonable assurance that they will show up to court if released with a citation. This is called a “flight-risk assessment”.  Knowing a person’s identity is critical for the deputy to consider a citation instead of arrest and by you carrying identification can help the deputy be assured that you are who you say you are, live where you say you live, and you have ties to our community.  These all indicate  you would show up to court if given a citation.  However, if you attempt to conceal your identity or mislead the deputy about who you are or where you live, you more than likely will be arrested and taken to jail. The bottom line is you should always be honest with the deputy about who you are and where you live so the deputy can allow you to leave with a citation instead of being arrested.

 

If I want further information about ICE and their local operations, who should I contact?

Answer: Local law enforcement can attempt to answer most of your questions, but we encourage you to contact ICE directly and ask them any information that you may be uncertain about. It is always best to get the information directly from the source, and ICE knows best what they intend to do or not do. ICE lists their Casper WY number as (307) 261-6590.

 

 

Drugs Recovered During Search Warrant

Doina Seiciuc-Berglund Sheldon Berglund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On Monday March 14, 2017 at 12:41 PM, Teton County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Detectives served a search warrant at a Jackson, WY apartment complex.  The warrant was part of an ongoing drug investigation.

A large amount of drugs and cash were recovered from the apartment.  Preliminary counts  are:  $4100.00 in cash, 215 syringes loaded with Cannabis oil, 196 grams of LSD infused gummy candy, 223 doses of MDMA (Molly), 388 grams of MDMA ecstasy tablets, 398 grams of MDMA (Molly), 4.6 grams of liquid LSD, and 46 grams of THC wax/”shatter”.  Initial estimate is a street value of approximately $80,000 in drugs was seized.

The two residents of the apartment were not home at the time the search warrant was served.  They were both located and arrested a short while later.  23 year old Sheldon Bo Berglund and 28 year old Doina Seiciuc-Berglund are facing numerous felony charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute and Conspiracy.

Sgt. Todd Stanyon

Teton County Sheriffs Office 180 South King Street P.O. Box 1885 Jackson, WY 83001 307.733.4052 www.tetonsheriff.org

Mangy Moose Theft

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On Sunday February 26, 2017 at 11:39 PM an unknown male suspect stole a monogrammed “Mangy Moose” rug from the entry way of the Mangy Moose Saloon in Teton Village.  The rug is valued at $350.00.  The theft was captured on surveillance video.  The suspect is a white male,  35-45 years of age, mostly bald, and clean shaven.  At the time of the theft he was wearing a red coat with a grey turtleneck sweater underneath.  Attached is a photo of the suspect taken at the time of the theft.

Please contact the Teton County Sheriff’s Office with any information on the identity of the suspect.   You may remain anonymous.

Contact Det. Sgt. Todd Stanyon

MangyMoose

Back Country Caution

From the Office of the Sheriff
Teton County, Wyoming
Sheriff Jim Whalen

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

With all of the fresh powder and the nice weekend ahead, the Teton County Sheriff’s Office wants people who enjoy the back country to use extreme caution.  “There is nothing worse than giving family members the bad news that a loved one has died, especially when that death was preventable.”, said Sheriff Jim Whalen.   Additionally, Sheriff Whalen said, “This weekend has the potential of being a banner weekend for search and rescue, but I don’t mean in a good way. ”

The majority of people who live in this part of the country live here to enjoy what the back country has to offer.  Those experiences can be almost magical.  However, for those people who will be going out we ask them to exercise extreme caution.   The avalanche danger is a real threat, skiing or snowboarding above your experience level is a real threat, and going on a back country excursion alone is a real threat.   Above all, we want people to be smart, which means being safe.

There is an initiative that has been sponsored by the Search and Rescue Foundation of Teton County: Back Country Zero.   This means, we have a goal to eliminate all preventable deaths in the back country in Teton County.   This is an initiative we should all support.  This weekend and in the remaining months of this ski season, let’s have everyone do their part in meeting that goal.

“We have a fantastic Search and Rescue team” said Sheriff Whalen, “but it would be even more fantastic if they did not get called this weekend.  Be smart, be safe and don’t be a victim!”

Contact Sheriff Jim Whalen

Teton County Sheriffs Office
180 South King Street
P.O. Box 1885
Jackson, WY 83001
307.733.4052
www.tetonsheriff.org

Berry Fire Update

From Grand Teton National Park:

Fire managers anticipate Highway 89/191/287 between the South Gate of Yellowstone National Park and Leeks Marina will remain closed at least through the weekend. This temporary highway closure ensures firefighter and public safety. Conditions are evaluated daily and announcements will be made when the road is reopened.

Despite the road closures, both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks are open to visitors. This includes Leeks Marina and most visitor destinations and services within Grand Teton National Park. Enjoy this Centennial Anniversary in places like Colter Bay, Jackson Lake Lodge, Signal Mountain, String Lake, Jenny Lake, Moose, Moose-Wilson Corridor, Mormon Row, and Gros Ventre. Most trails and backcounty areas are open as well. Entrance fees are waived today through Sunday! #NPS100 #FindYourPark

For more Berry Fire info: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4954/