Muskegon Co. sergeant fired for early release of deputy

Dennis Smith's May 1, 2015 mug shot from the Muskegon County Jail.

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A sergeant at the Muskegon County Jail has been fired following the early release of an Ottawa County corrections officer.

Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler told 24 Hour News 8 the sergeant in charge of the jail the morning Ottawa County Corrections Officer Dennis Smith was arrested for ‘super drunk’ driving was terminated. Roesler wouldn’t release the sergeant’s name, but would confirm that the sergeant worked for the county for 15 years.

Earlier this month, Sheriff Roesler said it appeared that several policies were violated in the release of Officer Smith, making it appear he was given special treatment.

According to the sheriff, Smith’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level was .22 at the time of the crash, nearly three times Michigan’s legal limit to drive of .08.

Jail records show Smith was booked into the Muskegon County Jail at 2:55 a.m. May 1 on a charge of driving with a high BAC and released less than an hour and a half later at 4:31 a.m.

Under jail policy, Smith should have been held until his BAC dropped below .08, which Roesler said would take longer than a couple of hours.

Roesler said Smith was released on $1,000 bond and then driven home by a deputy who works part-time for both the Ottawa County and Muskegon County sheriff’s departments.

Roesler said regardless of whether policy was violated, no crimes were committed.

David Willis, director of Labor Services for the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council for the State of Michigan, told 24 Hour News 8 the sergeant has no disciplinary history. They have filed a grievance for his termination.

Willis said the sergeant and his family are “shocked” that he was terminated.

He also told 24 Hour News 8 the sergeant was the one who authorized the release of Officer Smith. When asked why he allowed the early release, Willis would not comment.

The Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council will first try to solve this with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department. If that does not work, it will move to arbitration where an arbitrator will determine if the punishment was too sever.

WOOD TV8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s