Former sheriff's deputy didn't just resign over illicit photo
A former Jackson County sheriff’s deputy who pleaded guilty last week to official misconduct for sending a sexually explicit photo of himself while in uniform from his cruiser had resigned while also under investigation for misconduct violations that had nothing to do with pictures, according to public records obtained about the revocation of his police credentials.
The week before Roger Oneal Campbell, 39, surrendered his badge in December, the sheriff’s office had begun a process recommending his employment be terminated following an internal affairs investigation for failing to properly investigate a trio of “serious crimes” in 2019, according to the closed case file obtained from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards & Training through a public records request.
Campbell’s reportedly botched case investigations stem from incidents in which witnesses called police to investigate reports of burglary, menacing with a firearm, kidnapping and attempted robbery.
The Mail Tribune sought the records request after Campbell admitted Friday to a single misdemeanor charge of official misconduct surrounding photos Campbell reportedly sent to a “female acquaintance” May 5, 2019, which showed Campbell “in uniform, in his patrol car exposing his genitals in an explicit sexually aroused manner,” according to a press release issued by Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert.
Campbell signed paperwork relinquishing his certification to be a police officer in Oregon Dec. 17 during investigation of the criminal charge of official misconduct, along with separate internal affairs investigations surrounding his conduct as sheriff’s deputy.
Sheriff Nathan Sickler wouldn’t comment on Campbell’s conduct beyond what was released publicly.
“Our staff is not supportive of this type of activities,” he said.
More direct, however, was a seven-page statement about Campbell’s conduct dated Dec. 10. In it, JCSO Operations Lt. Jeremy Whipple called Campbell’s conduct at times “perplexing,” “extremely incompetent” and “embarrassing to you and our agency.”
While investigating a June 4, 2019, report of burglary to a residence, Campbell reportedly took three months to contact the victim in the case, “and that was only after you were directed to do so,” Whipple wrote about the investigation.
“Your actions during this case were perplexing,” Whipple wrote. “You appeared to overcomplicate the entire process in an attempt to avoid being responsible for its outcome.”
The report stated that the burglary victim was an inmate at the jail, but that should not have mattered, according to Whipple.
Whipple wrote that the JCSO code of ethics clearly states “that we are to protect all persons and to respect the rights of all people. ... You spent significantly more effort trying to avoid the case than it would have taken to just complete it in the first place.”
On Sept. 1, 2019, Campbell was dispatched to an incident where two people called 911 for help “because their mentally ill relative had just threatened their lives by pointing a gun at them,” according to Whipple’s statement. Campbell cleared the case as “No report.”
“At the least this would be an extremely incompetent investigation by you,” Whipple wrote, adding that there were signs Campbell was “untruthful” when he told a supervisor no crimes were committed.
Campbell reportedly told his direct supervisor, Cpl. James Biddle, that the suspect was only waving a firearm in the air, contradicting two witness statements and what the victims told 911 dispatchers when they called for help.
“Your omission of essential facts put the victims and the rest of our community at risk,” Whipple wrote.
On Sept. 10, 2019, Campbell was called to a report of kidnapping, menacing and attempted robbery, but when it came time to present the case to a grand jury, a deputy district attorney concluded Campbell may have “attempted to compromise his own case.”
Internal Affairs determined that during the grand jury session, Campbell defended the suspect and disputed the victim’s statements and claims, “rather than just testifying to the facts as written in the report.”
Campbell later told investigators he made the arrest on Cpl. Biddle’s orders, but Whipple said the policy handbook would have protected him had Campbell argued the arrest was unlawful. Instead, Whipple determined Campbell “prioritized (himself) over the victim of a felony crime” in an attempt to “prove a point to Cpl. Biddle.”
“Your behavior during grand jury was embarrassing to you and our agency,” Whipple wrote.
The report stated that Campbell had 11 years of law enforcement experience.
According to DPSST records, Campbell joined the sheriff’s office in October 2015 as a sheriff’s deputy after earlier positions with the Umatilla Police Department and the Oregon Department of Corrections, where he reached the rank of corporal at Two Rivers Correctional Institution.
The report showed Campbell was disciplined twice over the past two years for policy violations related to police reports and evidence processing, including a two-day suspension in 2018 for failing to investigate two separate burglaries and failing to “take $1,600 cash into evidence until 46 days later,” despite a report saying he’d “already turned the money in.”
In January of 2019, Campbell received a letter of reprimand because he “chose not to write a report of a motor vehicle crash where one of the drivers had been injured.”
“You appear to be unwilling to change your behavior even after being suspended from duty for it,” Whipple wrote.
Sickler stated all three cases were reassigned to other staff members after “the public wasn’t originally treated as we would’ve hoped.”