Sheriff Staton criticized for buying "souped-up" car with taxpay - KPTV - FOX 12

Sheriff Staton criticized for buying "souped-up" car with taxpayer money

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Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton is under fire once again—this time for spending almost $34,000 of taxpayer money on a souped-up car for himself. Last summer, a brand new 2015 Dodge Charger was purchased for Staton to be used on the job.

Staton had been driving a 2014 model, but says he handed it down to an investigator in the department. After staff members researched options, Staton recalls going to the dealership.

“They had, I think, five or six on the lot and I just picked out the black one,” Staton said in an interview with FOX 12 Wednesday.

The Dodge Charger is a popular vehicle for law enforcement, but Staton’s car is loaded with extras.

County email records show a list of add-ons including a power sunroof, premium wheels leather seats, tinted windows and more – all adding up to a total cost of $33,623.

After several email exchanges, county fleet manager Garrett Vanderzanden rejected the purchase, telling Sgt. Bryan White that if the county moved forward with it, they would need to purchase it internally. White responded saying he understood, but Staton got the car anyway. The sheriff says he knew nothing about this exchange and he never asked for the upgrades.

“I was totally unaware though, that the fleet manager had said that we couldn’t purchase the car.”

FOX 12’s Jamie Wilson asked, “But just to be clear, you didn’t request to purchase any of those extras for the car?”

“No. What’s on that vehicle is exactly how it was when it was over there at the lot. Except for the windows.”

This news comes after a rough few months for Staton including allegations of harassment, a Department of Justice Investigation – that found he did nothing criminal – and a recent “no confidence” vote by the deputies union. Union President Matt Ferguson says this is just one more complaint on their list.

“Especially over the last year when we’ve had tight budget restrictions on training or equipment and then to find out something like this has happened, is certainly frustrating.”

Ferguson and other deputies are calling on Staton to resign.

“It reaffirms our belief that the sheriff has kind of chosen to do whatever the sheriff wants to do and that’s frustrating for our membership.”

Next to his family, Staton says the sheriff’s department is the most important thing his has. He says the “no confidence” vote is hurtful, but he has no plans to step down. However, he does plan on making changes to purchasing procedures because he knows the buck stops with him.

“This is my responsibility and I’m taking responsibility and we’re going to change things internally with regards to this a little bit.”

In light of the criticism, Staton plans to pass off his car to a deputy or investigator to be used in the field.

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