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Arrests of officers make Oak Harbor police work short

"The Oak Harbor Police Department has been short-staffed this summer after a pair of officers were arrested on suspicion of gross misdemeanor crimes.Former officer Keith Belau, a 33-year-old Navy veteran, was arrested by his supervising officer on suspicion of DUI early on the morning of July 22, according to District Court records.Belau, who was a new hire still in his one-year probationary period, was dismissed shortly afterward, Oak Harbor Police Chief Tony Barge told the Oak Harbor Civil Service Commission.Officer Patrick Horn was on a three-month leave, from June to the end of August, because of a domestic assault case, Barge told the commission.According to court papers, Horn was arrested by investigators from the Island County Sheriff’s Department on suspicion of fourth-degree assault. He was accused of assaulting his 7-year-old son.Horn was released from jail March 16 and ordered to have no contact with his children, court records state.Deputy Prosector Linda Kipling said she dismissed the charges on June 22 because she simply didn’t have enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.In a motion filed to suppress evidence, Horn’s attorney claims that he was unfairly treated by sheriff’s investigators because he is a police officer.“Unlike most cases of this nature, however,” attorney Christon Skinner wrote, ”the state has launched a major investigation into the defendant’s background, personal history and prior relationships.”At the civil service commission meeting, Barge said that the department did an internal investigation of the case, but didn’t find enough evidence to warrant a disciplinary hearing. He added that Horn will be monitored closely in the future.The Whidbey News-Times has made a request under the state’s Open Records Act for information involving the internal investigation of the Horn case. The city has promised a response within three weeks.In the Belau case, Barge declined to comment on whether Belau’s dismissal was directly related to his DUI arrest.“He didn’t meet our expectations,” he said.According to a police report written by Sgt. Sean Magorrian, Magorrian stopped Belau’s car on Highway 20 in the city at 1:39 a.m. after watching him drift from side to side within the lane while following him at 30 mph in a 40 mph zone.Magorrian wrote that he arrested Belau after he refused to take a roadside sobriety test. Belau’s trial is set for Nov. 2 at the Oak Harbor Municipal Court."

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