An internal law enforcement bulletin about Adams County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brian Wood leaked to the media and posted on social media sites has caused a stir as people try to ascertain the significance of and the reason behind the notice.
Wood was one of two deputies involved in the fatal shooting of Adams County rancher Jack Yantis on Nov. 1. Investigations by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office into the shooting have been going on for nearly six months. Both he and Deputy Cody Roland remain on leave.
The “officer safety/extra patrol” bulletin was issued out of Boise by the Ada County Sheriff’s Office and sent to law enforcement agencies on Jan. 22.
The one-page document states, “According to Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Brian Wood has become increasingly unstable in recent weeks. … Wood and his wife are separating … During a conversation with [Adams County Sheriff’s Office], Wood advised, ‘If cops get involved, shots will be fired.’ ”
The Ada County Sheriff’s Office issued the bulletin after a “local investigation” and information received from an Adams County lieutenant, said spokesman Patrick Orr.
Orr would not say what the local investigation entailed, but the bulletin states that Wood’s in-laws, who live in Meridian, “have requested extra police patrol due to statements from Wood that they are ‘not safe.’ ”
Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman issued a written statement on Tuesday to clear up what he said was misinformation about who provided information about Wood to the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.
“The man who spoke with investigators was an Adams County lieutenant — a member of command staff — working for the agency at the time of his conversations with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office,” Zollman said in his statement. “(T)he officer was not acting as a representative of my office when he shared the information with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office. I had told him that if he shared information with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, he was to do it on his own time and not as a representative of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.”
Although Zollman said the information provided to Ada County did not come directly from him or his office, he understands why Ada County issued the alert.
“I understand the information communicated to Ada County from the various individuals caused it immediate concern and it felt the need to protect the community and officers who may interact with Wood,” Zollman said in his statement. “I have learned that the information in the officer safety bulletin was based on multiple interviews with people close to Deputy Wood and that the Ada County Sheriff’s Office trusted the statements made by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant because he was a member of my command staff.”
The nearly four-month-old bulletin also stated that Ada County was not investigating any crime involving Wood and that no charges were pending against Wood.
Orr said that is still true.
“Brian Wood has not been the subject of any criminal investigation in Ada County. Brian Wood is not charged in connection with any crimes in Ada County,” Orr said. “We have not had any calls for service at any of the addresses listed on the officer safety bulletin or with any of the people listed on the bulletin.”
WOOD RESPONDS VIA FACEBOOK
A May 8 post to Brian Wood’s Facebook page states, “My natural response to slander is to be angry at the person who made up the lies, and to defend myself by getting the truth out. … The man who fabricated the information in the law enforcement bulletin lost his job a couple weeks later, and the man who published the bulletin to the Internet was arrested by the FBI the very same day.”
The Statesman reached out to Wood via Facebook on Tuesday night for further comment. He responded that the newspaper’s “sensationalized exploitation of this event has caused a lot of pain for every family affected by this situation. When the time is right, inside info and an exclusive interview will be offered to a reporter and news agency who has shown more respect for justice and for our community.”
Zollman told the Statesman that the lieutenant who provided information about Wood to the Ada County Sheriff’s Office is a “former friend” of Wood’s and no longer works for Adams County. Zollman would not name the lieutenant or say why he no longer works there, other than to say that the departure was not related to the law enforcement bulletin.
“No one lost their job over this incident,” Zollman said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez told the Statesman on Tuesday that “no one has been charged by this office” in connection with the law enforcement bulletin on Wood.