SALMON, Idaho -- The state won't prosecute the Lemhi County sheriff for alleged drunk driving in December, saying it doesn't have enough information about the case.
Sheriff Slam Slavin pleaded guilty to drunken driving in April, and was sentenced to a 30-day suspension of this license and a year of unsupervised probation. He was arrested in March after Boise police saw him driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
New allegations surfaced after a Dec. 28 search-and-rescue operation led by the sheriff.
Law enforcement officials who were helping out filed statements that day saying Slavins was drinking on the job. Witnesses said he had two or three light beers in five to 15 minutes, stashed the empty containers in an officer's vehicle, and then drove away in his patrol truck.
Lemhi County Prosecutor Bruce Withers said he couldn't investigate, because he also represents the county, including the sheriff's office.
Withers told the Post Register newspaper in Idaho Falls that he asked the Idaho State Police to investigate, but that agency declined, saying it didn't have the resources.
On Wednesday, Withers asked the state attorney general's office to investigate. Bob Cooper, spokesman for that agency, said Friday there was not enough information to prosecute.
County commissioners don't know if they have a role in the case. "We're in unfamiliar territory," Commissioner Bob Cope said. "We've neither considered any action nor ruled anything out."
The state chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving says it will ask Idaho State Police in Boise to look into the matter.
"We find it sad that Lemhi County hasn't taken drunk driving seriously," MADD spokeswoman Aleshea Lind said Friday. "We think it's important to remember it could be anyone -- a sheriff, a deputy, any citizen -- that kills an innocent family (member) because of irresponsible drinking."
Only the voters of Lemhi County can determine if the sheriff is fit for law enforcement, said Mike Becar, executive director of the Peace Officer Standards and Training, which sets standards and certifies most law officers in Idaho.
"When it comes down to it, he's elected by people there and as long as people in that county want to retain him, he can do all kinds of things," Becar said.
"Things like this obviously detract from what law enforcement is supposed to be doing and they detract from the confidence people should have in the office," said Nick Albers, executive director of the Idaho Sheriff's Association. "It's potentially detrimental to any officer that's out there."
Information from: Post Register, http://www.idahonews.com