Two Wayne County sergeants have resigned prior to disciplinary charges

LYONS — A Christmas party was held inside the Wayne County Sheriff's Office where video from body-worn cameras was used for the entertainment of the deputies.

It happened the day after Christmas.

A News 10NBC investigative reporter was tipped off about the party last week and on Monday, Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts confirmed two of his sergeants resigned prior to disciplinary charges being filed against them. 

Virts said he was furious when he discovered Sergeant Scott Knapp and Sergeant Andrea Knapp not only hosted the party in the Police Services Section of the sheriff's office in Lyons but directed their subordinates to come.

At the party, video from body-worn cameras was shown.

The sheriff said while he didn't see the video directly, it is his understanding that it was a compilation of interactions that road deputies had with members of the public.

The Wayne County road deputies have been wearing body cameras since June 2018.  

Virts said the Knapps were supervisors on the night shift. They directed road deputies to come back to the station for a Christmas party and then accessed the body camera cloud to pull up the videos on a big screen. When accessing the videos, the Knapps claimed it was for training purposes.

Asked for his reaction when he learned of the actions, Virts responded: "Furious, furious. The body cameras, the policy we put together to use them is to protect the integrity of the deputy, the integrity of the complainant and the community ... the video is only to be used for training and only to be used for training if it's approved by me. This was not."

He noted that all the deputies who attended were on-duty at the time, but added that there was "no evidence whatsoever" of any drinking going on.

"So, there were six videos that we see on the system, on the audit, on the cloud that we reviewed. They were streamed, they never left the system, they never got on social media or anything like that ... Three were of intoxicated individuals, highly intoxicated individuals, two were of taser deployments and one was a foot chase," Virts said.

Asked what the point was of showing the footage, the sheriff said, "I don't know that. I didn't interview the deputies. All I know is that the deputies told us it wasn't for a training purpose, it was shown for entertainment."

Virts said he did not and will not notify the people who were in the video. "Those videos did not leave this building," he said.

The sheriff said this incident is being handled as a disciplinary measure rather than a criminal matter. "It's a disciplinary measure. We did do a parallel investigation but it didn't rise to the level of filing criminal charges," he said.

Asked how long the other deputies were at the party, Virts said, "Some were here for extended periods of time. I think the one that was here for the least amount of time was about an hour but some were here for an extended amount of time when they should have been out on the road and the supervisors should have had them out on the road protecting the community."

Calls to Scott and Andrea Knapp for comment were not returned.

The union that represents Wayne County road patrol deputies says it does not comment on personnel issues but considers the matter resolved.