A Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputy pleaded guilty Tuesday to official misconduct for stealing vaccination cards from a jail where he worked.
Co-workers reported Robert James Haney, 50, stole two U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination cards during a jail vaccine clinic in May. Sheriff’s office detectives found the stolen cards in Haney’s Battleground, Washington, home. Haney made a copy of a coworker’s completed vaccination card in order to accurately fill out a stolen card for himself.
In a statement, Sheriff Mike Reese said he was disappointed in Haney’s actions.
“Our profession’s credibility is damaged when any member engages in illegal actions or misconduct,” Reese said.
Months after Haney stole the vaccination cards, the Oregon Health Authority issued guidance saying the state’s health care worker vaccine mandate would not apply to law enforcement. Oregon state law says local officials can only issue vaccine mandates for firefighters and police if there is already a state law requiring it. The OHA guidance forced Multnomah County to reverse course on plans to mandate vaccines for law enforcement in the county.
As of Tuesday, 80% of Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office’s 769 employees were at least partially vaccinated.
Haney has been on administrative leave since May 20, the same day a search warrant application was filed in Clark County, according to The Columbian. He was indicted in September for official misconduct and theft. The theft charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
Haney, who has been with MCSO for more than 20 years, has agreed to six months probation. He will also resign from the sheriff’s office, relinquish his Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training certification and pay a fine of $500.
Multnomah County district attorney Mike Schmidt said the investigation and prosecution shows no one is above the law.
“This is a clear violation of the public’s trust and poses an even greater threat as we confront a new, dangerous COVID-19 variant,” Schmidt wrote in a tweet.