You are hereSheriff Sergeant Arrested for Drug Theft: Internal Affairs Supplemental Report #1

Sheriff Sergeant Arrested for Drug Theft: Internal Affairs Supplemental Report #1


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MONTGOMERY COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE INSPECTIONAL SERVICES INVESTIGATION SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT #03-012

On Friday February 21, 2003, at approximately 1300 hours Paramedic Heidi Sipple appeared at the conference room in the Montgomery County Sheriff 's Office Special investigations Section, 335 West Third Street for an interview concerning the theft of Vicodin from the Montgomery County Jail Medical Offices. Paramedic Sipple and I were present during the interview.

Paramedic Sipple said she arrived for work on Thursday, February 20, 2003, at 2245 hours. Paramedic Sipple said that Paramedic Ken Ward worked Third Watch and was finishing paperwork. Paramedic Sipple said while Paramedic Ward was finishing his paperwork, she started working to prepare for her shift.

Paramedic Sipple said at midnight Paramedic Ward was past his time to leave, so she asked him if he wanted to count medications with her. Paramedic Sipple said Paramedic Ward told her he did not want to count the medications. Paramedic Sipple said she counted the medications by herself.

Paramedic Sipple explained that the paramedics count the controlled medications at the beginning and end of their shift. Paramedic Sipple said they normally count the medications with the paramedic leaving or coming on so they can address any discrepancies. Paramedic Sipple said she counted the controlled medications and logged her count on the controlled medication count sheets.

Paramedic Sipple said at 0300 hours, she was sitting at the desk facing the Medical office door with the inmate medication cart preparing medications for morning rounds when Sergeant Powell came in to the offices. Paramedic Sipple explained that Sergeant Powell was the booking sergeant that night and assigned to the First Floor.

Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell came into the offices and was talking about his medications as he has done in the past. Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell was talking about Serax, and asking if it was a controlled drug or not. Paramedic Sipple said she felt that Sergeant Powell was hinting that he had forgotten to take his Serax that day.

Paramedic Sipple said she told Sergeant Powell that Serax was a controlled drug. Paramedic Sipple said that sergeant Powell questioned whether Serax was controlled.

Paramedic Sipple explained that Sergeant Powell had previously told her that he is taking 45mg of Serax along with other medications.

Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell then walked into the Pharmacy room. Paramedic Sipple said she could hear Sergeant Powell opening the drawers of the Stock medication cart and became concerned, so she started to go to the Pharmacy room. Paramedic Sipple said that someone called Sergeant Powell on the radio and told him that a telephone call was going to be transferred to the Medical Offices for him. Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell then walked out of the Pharmacy room to take the telephone call.

Paramedic Sipple said she saw Sergeant Powell carrying a blister pack of medication when he answered the telephone. Paramedic Sipple said she could not see what the medication Sergeant Powell had was, but could tell that it was not a controlled medication because she could see that it did not have a large red "C" marked on the card which would designate it as a controlled medication.

Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell spoke on the telephone for a short time, and walked back into the Pharmacy room when he was done. Paramedic Sipple said she was still concerned with Sergeant Powell being in the Pharmacy room, so she again started to go to the Pharmacy room to check what he was doing. Paramedic Sipple said that the telephone rang again, so she stopped and answered it because she thought it could be about a prisoner on the first floor who was having some medical problems that she was concerned about.

Paramedic Sipple said she ended the telephone call as quickly as she could and walked into the Pharmacy room. Paramedic Sipple said she saw Sergeant Powell in the Pharmacy room and described what he was doing saying, "...he had, uh, the controlled box is in, uh, the middle drawer of the cart. And he had, the drawer was still partially opened, and the. There's a box that holds our controlled medications that, that stays in this drawer. And it has a key lock on it, and he had the keys still in the key lock to the controlled box, and he was shutting the drawer and pulling out the key. And he shut the drawer, and, uh, he made some comment about needing to leave his medication at work because he always forgets it, referencing his Serax. And, uh, then, then he left."

Paramedic Sipple said right after Sergeant Powell left she re-counted the controlled medications, because the paramedics had concerns about some medications that had been missing. Paramedic Sipple said she re-counted the controlled medications, and when she came to the card of Vicodin that originally had eleven pills at the beginning of her shift, now only had seven pills in it, so four were missing.

Paramedic Sipple described the medication blister packs to me. Paramedic Sipple said the Vicodin card with missing medications originally had thirty pills when it was shipped to the Montgomery County Jail. Paramedic Sipple said that each pill is contained in a plastic blister with a foil baking so the pill can be popped out when they need to administer the medication. Paramedic Sipple said the pills in the blister card are individually numbered from thirty to one starting in the upper left corner. Paramedic Sipple said when they administer the medications they start with pill number thirty and punch the pills out in sequential descending number so they know how many pills are left in the card.

Paramedic Sipple said the Vicodin card with the missing pills, which had eleven pills when she counted it at the beginning of her shift, had pills number, 11, 10, 9, and 1 missing. Paramedic Sipple said pill number 1 was taken out of order. Paramedic Sipple said pills number 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 were still in the card.

Paramedic Sipple said no one other than herself and Sergeant Powell was in the Pharmacy room during her shift. Paramedic Sipple said she was in the Medical Offices for her entire shift up until the time Sergeant Powell came in and was able to physically observe the Pharmacy room. Paramedic Sipple said she did have to leave the Medical Offices one time before Sergeant Powell was in the Pharmacy room, but the Pharmacy was locked, and she was the only person in the jail at the time that had a key to get into the Pharmacy room.

Paramedic Sipple said over the past three weeks there has been a great concern among the medical staff over Vicodin that has come up missing without explanation. Paramedic Sipple said the times the Vicodin has come up missing has been during first watch while Sergeant Powell has been assigned to work somewhere in the jail.

Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell spends a lot of time in the Medical Offices, especially if he is assigned as the housing sergeant in the jail. Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell discusses his medications, reads medication books, and sometimes assists with medication rounds while spending time with medical personnel. Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell would spend approximately six hours out of his eight-hour shift with the medical personnel. Paramedic Sipple said that in her experience, none of the other sergeants assigned to the jail spend nearly as much time with the medical staff.

Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell would ask questions about several different types of medications, but primarily pain medications and muscle relaxers. Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell has complained about having problems sleeping and headaches that he has and asks questions about the medications he has been prescribed. Paramedic Sipple said that Sergeant Powell's questions are primarily personal in nature, and not related to his duties as a jail supervisor.

I asked Paramedic Sipple if she had ever known Sergeant Powell to been prescribed Vicodin. She said, "Uh, I think that in the beginning that I assumed that he was, but, uh, when he wrote, he wrote out at one point a list of his medications from, uh, one of these conversations where we were discussing the medication that he was on, and interactions and things. And Vicodin was not on the list of medications that he took on a regular basis."

Paramedic Sipple said she assumed Sergeant Powell was prescribed Vicodin because sometime in late December, he asked he for two Vicodin. Paramedic Sipple said when Sergeant Powell asked her for the Vicodin, there was an envelope containing tow Vicodin that were set aside for destruction. Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell asked her if he could take them for a headache he had. Paramedic Sipple said she assumed Sergeant Powell was under a prescription for Vicodin so she allowed him to have the pills.

Paramedic Sipple said during the past few weeks there have been three specific incidents where Vicodin has come up missing without explanation. Paramedic Sipple said the first incident ten Vicodin were missing. Paramedic Sipple said the second incident, which occurred on Saturday, February 15, 2003, five Vicodin were missing. Paramedic Sipple said the third incident was last night when she discovered the four Vicodin missing after Sergeant Powell had been in the Pharmacy room. Paramedic Sipple said she could not remember the date of the first incident.

At 1320 hours, we took a break so that Paramedic Sipple could provide a voluntary urine sample to Sergeant Osterfeld. At 1345 hours, I resumed the interview in the conference room of the Special Investigation Section with Paramedic Sipple and I present.

Paramedic Sipple explained that on one occasion when Sergeant Powell was assisting her with medication rounds, she was called to the First Floor to examine an inmate so she put the medication cart in an attorney room. Paramedic Sipple said that Sergeant Powell said, "I'll meet you over in C Pod." Paramedic Sipple said she went to the First Floor, checked the inmate and returned to the Second Floor to continue her medication rounds. Paramedic Sipple said the medication cart was missing from the Second Floor, so she called for Sergeant Powell over the radio. Sergeant Powell said he was in Pod C. Paramedic Sipple said she went to Pod C and found Sergeant Powell with the medication cart passing out medications to the inmates. Paramedic Sipple said she did not believe there was a discrepancy in the medication count that evening.

Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell has shown a lot of interest in how they perform medication counts, and has offered to assist with them by logging the numbers on the count sheets for her. Paramedic Sipple said she declined his offer to help.

I asked Paramedic Sipple if she has observed Sergeant Powell displaying any physical symptoms of being under the influence of narcotic medications while at work. She said, "There are some days when he comes in and he's, you know, he's wide eyed and he's, I don't know, I almost want to say coherent, I mean there, you know, those days. And then there are a lot of days when he cones in and it's hard to decipher, especially on first watch, whether somebody who hasn't slept all day, or, uh, he does say that he does have a sleeping disorder, he's having sleeping problems where he can't sleep. But, I mean there's been a lot of occasions where it was either he was extremely tired, or he was under the influence of something."

Paramedic Sipple explained one occasion where she and Paramedic George Dexter were passing out medications on the linear side of the Second Floor. Paramedic Sipple said that particular floor is split in two sections, so she delivered one side and Paramedic Dexter delivered the other. Paramedic Sipple said Sergeant Powell was with them, so they left the medication cart with him. Paramedic Sipple said before they left the cart, they locked it so it could not be opened. Paramedic Sipple said when they returned to the cart, Sergeant Powell told them that it was a good idea that they lock the cart when they leave it, indicating that he had tried to get into the cart.

Paramedic Sipple suggested that we talk to the other paramedics employed by the Sheriff's Office. Paramedic Sipple said she did not have any further information regarding this investigation. I ended the interview at 1400 hours.

Detective Dave Parin #198
February 26, 2003

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