Jefferson prosecutor, sheriff talk about cell phone allegations

Meeting on issue to be open to public

Prosecutor discusses his role in the Jefferson County

RIGBY, Idaho - After allegations regarding inappropriate activity have circled the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office for months, some residents were left wondering what actions were being taken.

"People have their rights to opinions, to expressions, but I've never seen this in 30 years of practice in Jefferson County," said Robin Dunn, county prosecutor.

Allegations surfaced that Sheriff Blair Olsen's wife had been using a county-issued cell phone, paid for with taxpayer money.

Dunn said in his role as the civil attorney for the county, he can only give legal advice to county commissioners and does not condone their actions.  As for the "back up" cell phone, Dunn says issuing that was the decision of the commissioners, as the county did not have a cell phone policy before July 9 of this year.

"We as a county developed a cell phone policy to guide elected and appointed officials in the future," said Dunn. "That says nothing about the past. (It) only talks about the future."

In the cell phone issue before the county, Dunn said he's taken steps to have an outside agency investigate.

Normally it would be either the Idaho State Police or the Tri-County Board, but since both of those agencies have close working relationships with Sheriff Blair Olsen, they've declined.

"What I have done at this point in time and have not received a response yet, which I expect to receive in the near future, is turn this over to the attorney general for their opinion and/or investigation," said Dunn.

Dunn says once he receives a response from the Attorney General's Office in Ada County, then the county will act appropriately.

The group of concerned taxpayers will meet with the county commissioners on Monday at 4 p.m.  It was originally scheduled as a closed-door session, but it will be open to the public.

Olsen talked to Local News 8's Karole Honas about the allegation of misusing public funds involving a cell phone. He said the phone was registered to him and was listed as an alternate number to get in contact with him.

He said he did give it to his wife to use because if the county couldn't get a hold of him on his cell phone, she would know where he was. The sheriff said that's been the policy in Jefferson County for years, and if the county commissioners want to change the cell phone policy, then that's fine with him.

Olsen said the cell phone in question has been turned in to the county. He said commissioners may reassign it or deactivate it.  

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