HELENA - The Montana Public Safety Officer Standards & Training Council (POST) on Tuesday asked Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards to surrender his police and coroner certificate during a case status hearing in Helena.
The committee stated that alcohol, a physical altercation, and a gun were all factors in the June 2017 incident between Edwards and his girlfriend.
Edwards admitted that he was in a "very loud disturbance" with his girlfriend in the hotel room, but denied that he ever touched his girlfriend, and denied that his weapon was involved.
Committee members asked Edwards to explain the differing accounts from people outside the hotel room regarding the involvement of a gun in the incident.
Edwards told the committee members unequivocally that there was no gun involved in the incident, and tried to explain how people outside of the hotel room could have interpreted the sounds that they heard.
"I took the gun out of the holster, set it on the bed. Then I put my holster on and put my gun in my holster. I do not know where people are getting (that) I racked a gun, because I didn't need to. My gun was always loaded. There was no reason and I am baffled on why people thought I was racking a gun in that hotel room," Edwards told the committee.
Edwards will receive a letter sometime next week from POST that will formally ask him to surrender his certification. Edwards can still serve as Sheriff without POST certification. Edwards has not yet announced whether he will run for re-election.
Edwards entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with Helena City Attorney Thomas Jodoin; Edwards says that he has completed the terms of the agreement, including exceeding the required number of hours of counseling, and the citation has been dropped.
What is POST? According to the Montana Department of Justice website:
The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA.
Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.