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Posted: Jan 2, 2004  20:07

Deputy caught poaching resigns, apologizes


A Boundary County Sheriffs patrol deputy who admitted to poaching a trophy buck resigned, and issued a public apology to the department, his family and the community.

Heath Gustafson was cited on multiple game charges December 15 after shooting the deer from his patrol vehicle with a department assault rifle and using the patrol vehicle's spotlight south of Naples at about 12:11 a.m. as he was going off shift.

The following morning, he was placed on suspension, and on December 18, the remourseful deputy tendered his resignation.

He will answer the charges in Bonner County.

On January 2, Gustafson issued a letter of apology to the press.

"I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the citizens of Boundary County, the Sheriff's Office and my family," he wrote. "I made a terrible decision.

"I crossed the line and broke one of the laws that I took an oath to uphold and enforce. I take full responsibility for my actions and offer no excuses.

"Not only did my poor choice affect me, it affected my family and all of my co-workers. While I cannot 'take back' what happened, I have made every effort to handle the situation in the best way possible after the fact.

"I am very remorseful and will spend the rest of my career trying to make up for this incident.

"To my family, the citizens of this county and all of my co-workers, regardless of which agency they are employed by, please accept my apology, for I am truly sorry.

"Again, I take full responsibility. I have nothing but respect and admiration for Sheriff Voyles. To all of my friends and co-workers who have called and offered support, knowing this type of behavior is not typical of me, thank you."


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