Crow Wing County Sheriff's Deputy Pat Pickar-defeated by Scott Goddard as sheriff in the November 2018 election-was placed on paid administrative leave.
According to an email from Crow Wing County Human Resource Director Melanie Fontaine-Laska, a complaint made against Pickar on June 7 was the reason for his placement on paid administrative leave. The email stated the county initiated an employment investigation into the complaint. The employment investigation is not yet complete.
The county did not supply a reason why Pickar was placed on paid administrative leave as it is not public information. According to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, any data relating to a complaint or charge against an employee is public only if:
• The complaint or charge results in disciplinary action or the employee resigns or is terminated from employment while the complaint or charge is pending; or
• Potential legal claims arising out of the conduct that is the subject of the complaint or charge are released as part of a settlement agreement.
Pickar, who has been with the sheriff's office for more than 20 years, had no comment on being on paid administrative leave. Pickar has served numerous capacities with the sheriff's office, and has also worked for police departments around the Brainerd lakes area. Pickar spent seven years with the Crosby Police Department. He currently works part-time as a police officer for the Pequot Lakes Police Department. He is also deputy chief for the Cuyuna Police Department, where he supervises six police officers.
Pickar was assigned to the K-9 Unit for 12 years, working with K-9s Nike and Oakley. Since 2008, Pickar has owned CanAm Tactical K9 LLC, where he trains and consults with law enforcement officers in police service canine programs.
Pickar was terminated April 13, 2011, while working as a Crow Wing County Sheriff's deputy, but was reinstated a year later as a result of an arbitration ruling through the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services.
The Brainerd Dispatch reported April 15, 2011, a complaint was under investigation against the county's K-9 officer. At the time of the complaint, Pickar was the only officer who worked with the K-9 program. The county could not release the name of the deputy at the time because the Minnesota data privacy laws regarding public employees prohibited them from doing so.
The arbitration document between Crow Wing County and the deputy's union, Law Enforcement Labor Services Inc., ruled in favor of the deputy, whose name was redacted from the document.
At issue was whether the county violated a collective bargaining agreement by terminating the deputy without just cause. The deputy was accused of insubordination for complaining about an order to remove a file cabinet from a hallway at the sheriff's office. It was noted by the sheriff's office the issue was the culmination of several performance issues with the deputy.
As part of the arbitration process, the files and records were expunged from the deputy's personnel file and all references to his termination, also were expunged. The county had to pay the deputy back for the time he was on leave.
Sheriff Goddard offered no comment on the complaint against Pickar.