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BELLOWS FALLS — The Windham County Sheriff’s Office has placed a deputy on administrative leave for inadvertently firing a service weapon in their home on Friday.

According to information from Sheriff Mark Anderson, an internal investigation is being conducted into whether any department policies or procedures were violated leading up to or during the incident.

“I am thankful that no one was injured in this incident,” he wrote in an email to the Reformer. “We have notified the Windham County state’s attorney and have requested an outside law enforcement agency to determine if any criminal action has occurred.”

A community member who contacted the Reformer on Saturday said the bullet traveled through two bedrooms “and multiple walls” of a neighbor’s house.

There is concern, reported the man, because the homes are next to the Bellows Falls Middle School.

“I want to apologize to the people and community affected by this incident,” Anderson said. “The community holds deputies to a high standard. They are trusted with immense responsibilities. The Vermont Police Academy and my department train our deputies in proper handling, maintenance and care of their equipment.”

Anderson noted that personnel issues are confidential under Vermont law. “We will work our process to ensure an appropriate outcome. We will provide future information upon conclusion of our investigation.”

The purpose of an internal investigation is meant to determine if an employee violated the rules, regulations and policies of the Sheriff’s Office; provide early indicators of possible personnel issues; facilitate prompt and just disciplinary action; and uncover defective, outdated or missing procedures, policies or guidelines or material.

Bob Audette can be contacted at raudette@reformer.com.


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