Crime & Courts

Eight Sedgwick County Jail deputies suspended after steroid investigation

Eight deputies at the Sedgwick County Jail have been suspended for selling and using steroids, Sheriff Jeff Easter said during a news conference Wednesday.

Easter said the investigation started Tuesday after the Sheriff’s Office was told about the possible use and sale of the drug between deputies. A search warrant was executed on a residence, turning up steroids in liquid and pill form, Easter said. The deputies — ranging in age from 25 to 46 and employment from three to 16 years and including one woman — were suspended Tuesday.

“This is a first,” Easter said. “It doesn’t appear at this time that any of this has been introduced into the facility, whatsoever.”

Easter said the deputies were suspended without pay, in line with department policy. Easter said the investigation is completed and will be turned over to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.

Easter said the employees would be terminated if charges are filed.

The deputies could face felony charges of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance and misdemeanor charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, Easter said.

Easter said the office thinks it was mainly three deputies who were selling the steroids, adding that he thinks the situation has been going on for about a year.

None of the deputies have been arrested.

The eight suspended employees include two corporals, who worked in booking inmates, and six jail deputies. Covering the corporals’ positions will require moving others around, Easter said.

Easter said recent graduating classes of new deputies have been larger, which will make the suspensions more tolerable than they would have been in the past. The jail was short-staffed by roughly 70 positions in 2019, Easter said. The jail is currently short roughly 30 positions but has a class of 25 people going through training. The jail has about 223 employees.

Michael Stavola covers breaking news at The Wichita Eagle. He’s won a national and several state awards during his five years of working at newspapers in Kansas. He plans to finish his MBA at Wichita State University in spring 2020. Michael likes to exercise, hunt and spend time with his wife and their dog, Marley.