Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman told the Statesman Tuesday that he was waiting for the county insurer to give the go-ahead to bring back two deputies under investigation for their involvement in the death of a local rancher.
But on Thursday, Zollman said that he has since been advised by the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program, better known as ICRMP, that the deputies should not return to work before the investigation is complete.
“It’s probably in your best interest to listen to your legal counsel,” the sheriff said. “If they tell me not to do something, I’m not going to do that.”
The sheriff’s department received some feedback from folks concerned about the return of the deputies, but “no more than a half dozen,” Zollman said.
ICRMP will provide funds so that the county can hire two part-time deputies to help out while the deputies remain on paid administrative leave, the sheriff said. They currently have a couple of reserve deputies who are pitching in. The department has a total of 10 officers, including the sheriff, undersheriff and a Hells Canyon resident deputy.
Idaho State Police and the FBI are investigating the deadly encounter between Deputies Wood and Roland and 62-year-old Jack Yantis the evening of Nov. 1.
A dispatcher called Yantis to a crash scene involving his bull on U.S. Highway 95 north of Council. The bull was alive but mortally wounded.
Yantis’s wife and nephew, who witnessed the incident, said he was aiming his rifle at the back of the bull’s head to kill it when one of the deputies grabbed Yantis from behind and swung him around, and then the other deputy opened fire. Nothing from the deputies’ account of the incident has been released. In its initial report, Idaho State Police said Yantis and both deputies fired their weapons.