CHELAN — Dale England has faced a few controversies in Chelan County over the years and been cleared of all of them.
Past Wenatchee World stories reported:
In 2008, England was fired from his job as a Chelan County deputy after accidentally leaving a prank voicemail intended for a friend, talking about guns, on a random Montana man’s phone. England was later cleared of all wrongdoing in a 2012 settlement with Chelan County
- was given $204,000, plus had his retirement benefits restored.
- An investigation in 2009 by then Lt. Jerry Moore alleged England
- acquired from a diploma mill to receive higher pay. England was also accused of claiming to be a police officer in Walla Walla County, after getting fired, in order to purchase a gun. The Chelan County prosecutor never filed charges against England in regards to the diploma, current Chelan County Prosecutor Doug Shae said. The Walla Walla County prosecutor dropped the charges in regards to the firearm purchase.
- Troy Hawkins, England’s son-in-law, filed a lawsuit against the England family in 2015. Hawkins and the England family got into a fight over the pricing of orchard chemicals in 2006 to 2007. Hawkins then alleged the members of the England family planted on his property two tractors that were reported as stolen. In the lawsuit, Hawkins
and had sheriff’s deputies pull over his employees multiple times to look for the tractors. A federal court judge
- , saying Hawkins failed to show sheriff’s deputies acted maliciously.
England said the reason he is involved in so many contentious situations is because he isn’t afraid to stand up against injustice.
“I’m involved in the community, you know. I’m not someone that just sits at home, does nothing,” he said. “I volunteer. I am in the Kiwanis Service Club. I coach. I know a lot of people.”
The biggest take-away for potential voters is that none of these allegations against him ever stuck, England said.
The reason for many of these conflicts around his employment with the sheriff’s office was because of personal disagreements England had with then-Sheriff Mike Harum, he said. The year he was fired, England became the president of the sheriff deputies’ union, partially because he was close to retirement.
“Nobody else wanted to do it, because they were afraid of repercussions from the sheriff,” England said. “So in those contract negotiations I raised the ire of the sheriff, because I stood up to him.”
England and Harum also clashed over the Chelan County Sheriff’s helicopter program, England said. England says he was concerned about the service life of some of the helicopter’s parts.
As for the diploma, the chief of patrol at the time reviewed and approved the degree, England said. His law enforcement certificate was also still valid when he purchased the firearm in Walla Walla and the prosecutor in Walla Walla County dropped those charges.
In regards to the tractor situation, England said he was barely involved.
“There was a day that I saw one of the tractors going down the road on (Troy Hawkins’) equipment that I called Douglas County and they stopped them and eventually recovered that tractor,” he said.
Hawkins was convicted of possessing the stolen tractors, but the Washington State Supreme Court ordered a retrial to include new evidence. Hawkins alleged the evidence would prove the tractors were planted on his property. Douglas County prosecutors dropped the case before the retrial could occur as the company that owned the tractors no longer existed.
“If you just want to look at all the things that might make a news story that’s great,” England said. “(But) I’ve helped put together playgrounds. I’ve taken care of fallen officers’ families. I was on the board when the law enforcement memorial (in Olympia) was being designed.”
England said he’s done a lot of things that he doesn’t usually tout, but he’s more than these few situations.