Three San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office staff members – two correctional officers and a civilian – have been placed on leave pending an investigation into the actions that resulted in the arrest of a correctional officer on drug and gun charges on Wednesday.
The announcement from San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow that was posted on the agency’s social media accounts on Thursday formally named Brandon Wolff, 30, as the correctional officer that was arrested on Wednesday on charges of possession of controlled substances with intent to sell and possession of an illegal assault rifle.
Withrow also disclosed that the three additional staffers were placed on leave “out of an abundance of caution” following Wolff’s arrest. If they are cleared through an internal investigation, Withrow said that the agency will gladly welcome back to work.
“I want to make it very clear – since Day 1 I have said that I will fight crime in our communities and I will never allow criminal activity in our area,” Withrow said in the prerecorded message. “Not in our own community, and especially not within my own office.
“Once we caught wind of any wrongdoing we reacted with swift and appropriate measures to remove this cancer from our office. This behavior will not be tolerated, and it is in no means a representation of the courageous men and women who come to work here every single day – upholding the laws of our state and our community.”
Withrow’s comments came during a “private press conference” where media were not physically present – a precaution, he said, intended to preserve the integrity of the investigation and ensure transparency throughout the process.
“I like to come to you usually with good news about my office and my officers, but unfortunately that is not the case today,” Withrow said in what appeared to be off-the-cuff comments at the start of his address before he began reading a prepared statement. “I would love to be having a regular press conference and sharing this with you in person, but due to the sensitivity of this investigation I won’t be able to do that today.”
The prepared “script” that Withrow delivered was, in his own words, an attempt to preserve the integrity of the investigation and not to hamper any prosecution that may come as a result of that investigation.
While the identities of the additional personnel were not released during the address, Withrow said that the matter is being investigated internally and the results of that investigation will determine the agency’s next steps.
“At this point I cannot confirm whether or not they were involved in Mr. Wolff’s criminal activity,” Withrow said in the prepared remarks. “It should be noted though that we have internal investigations and criminal investigations and they are completely separate investigations – internal investigations look at policy violations and can lead to criminal charges – but not always.
“We understand that the stress that this possibly places on them and their families is very difficult at this time. If it is found that they were not involved, we will get them back to work as quickly as possible.”
To contact Bulletin reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.