DEPUTY NICK CAVANAUGH, OTSEGO COUNTY SD. March 26, 2010:
Dismissed from Sheriff Department for "A major Violation".
DEPUTY NICK CAVANAUGH, OTSEGO COUNTY SD. February 14, 2004:
domestic violence incident; drunk driving; loaded gun.
Sheriff’s deputy fired for ‘major violation’
April 06, 2010
By Michael Jones, Staff writer
GAYLORD - Less than one week after the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) fired 11-year veteran deputy Nick Cavanaugh March 26 for “a major policy violation,” Sheriff Jim McBride said his department received a letter from Cavanaugh stating his intention to seek arbitration to get his job back.
Because of the pending request for arbitration McBride said he could not comment on the reason for the dismissal of the 35-year-old deputy, who had been placed on a paid administrative leave March 9 prior to his March 26 termination with the department.
McBride did say he had reviewed the personnel issue incident involving Cavanaugh with the prosecutor’s office before making his decision to terminate the road patrol deputy. The sheriff said the issue concerning Cavanaugh’s dismissal was not a criminal matter.
He indicated the firing had nothing to do with Cavanaugh’s credibility as a witness in a recently completed trial heard by Judge Janet M. Allen in 46th Circuit Court. The trial, which began March 16, resulted in a mistrial March 29 when jurors were unable come to reach a verdict in the assault with intent to murder against defendant James Platte Jr.
Cavanaugh was a witness for the prosecution in that trial.
This is not the first time Cavanaugh has been in trouble with the OCSD nor the first time he has been fired by McBride.
In 2004, McBride terminated Cavanaugh after reviewing a police report relating to an alleged off-duty incident in Gladwin involving the deputy.
According to a February 2004 incident report from the Gladwin City Police, officers allegedly found Cavanaugh in possession of his department-issued handgun while intoxicated inside a parked vehicle at a private parking lot in Gladwin. The weapon was allegedly located by officers on the backseat floor of the vehicle under a jacket.
The four-page report was later forwarded to the Gladwin County prosecutor’s office for review. Gladwin County Prosecutor Thomas Jones declined to bring charges against Cavanaugh for the alleged incident, indicating there was not sufficient evidence to bring charges.
According to the incident report, Cavanaugh allegedly blew a .17 on a preliminary breath test. The report indicated Cavanaugh had not been arrested and authorities reportedly transported him to an area motel. In a Feb. 25, 2004 letter, Jones questioned numerous procedural matters found in the report as part of the basis for his decision not to charge Cavanaugh.
After the OCSD was informed of the incident the deputy was placed on administrative leave and then fired two days later. Despite not being charged in the February 2004 incident, McBride indicted Cavanaugh’s alleged behavior was sufficient grounds for termination and had been preceded by several other incidents during Cavanaugh’s then five-year tenure with the department.
In the summer of 2003, Cavanaugh had been suspended for his alleged involvement with another deputy for keeping confiscated fireworks for their own personal use. The other deputy, Jeffrey Brecheisen, was fired from the department as a result of the incident.
Deputy contests firing: No charges filed in Gladwin incident
deputy says he'll seek state arbitration
March 24, 2004
By Michael Jones, Staff Writer
GAYLORD - While the Gladwin County Prosecutor's office filed no charges following an alleged incident involving Otsego County Sheriff's Dept. Deputy Nick Cavanaugh last month in Gladwin, Otsego County Sheriff Jim McBride fired the 29-year-old deputy several days later.
On Tuesday, a week after he was denied reinstatement of his job after meeting with the Otsego County Commissioners Personnel Committee March 15, Cavanaugh said he plans to take his case to a state arbitrator.
According to a Feb. 15 incident report from the Gladwin City Police, officers there allegedly found Cavanaugh in possession of his department-issued firearm while intoxicated. That four-page report was later forwarded to the prosecutor's office for review and to determine if any charges would be filed against Cavanaugh.
According to Cavanaugh, the allegations were unfounded. "The prosecutor came to the conclusion that I did not break the law," Cavanaugh said Tuesday of his decision to protest his dismissal and take his termination from the Otsego County Sheriff's Dept. (OCSD) to an arbitrator.
Tom Kreis, northern Michigan staff representative for the Police Officer's Labor Council, who is representing Cavanaugh, said the paperwork to file for arbitration has been completed. The next step in the process would be to have an arbitrator appointed to the case and then schedule a date and location for the hearing. "This is not something which is typically resolved quickly," said Kreis, who noted the arbitrator's decision is final.
Gladwin Chief of Police Charlie Jones confirmed Cavanaugh had not been charged in the incident but he declined comment on the prosecutor's decision not to prosecute the OCSD deputy. Prosecutor Thomas Evans was unavailable for comment.
According to the Gladwin incident report, officers allegedly observed Cavanaugh's vehicle parked in a private parking lot in Gladwin around 11:45 p.m. Feb. 14. He was reportedly with a female companion when city police approached the vehicle. The report indicated officers allegedly observed, "that the driver (identified as Cavanaugh) was grasping the back side of the passenger's head by the hair with his right hand." When asked to explain his behavior, Cavanaugh allegedly told police he was sitting in the vehicle and would not leave until his companion stated "please."
According to the police report, Cavanaugh appeared intoxicated. He reportedly held up his deputy's badge to identify himself, and when asked whether he had a weapon, indicated he did not have it on his person, but that it was in the vehicle. Officers reportedly instructed Cavanaugh to exit the vehicle and eventually allegedly found his department-issued weapon, a Glock, Model 27, 40-caliber handgun, on the backseat floor of the vehicle behind the driver's seat, under a jacket.
During the course of the investigation, Cavanaugh allegedly blew a .17 on a preliminary breath test and reportedly appeared to be agitated and argumentative with officers; .08 is the level at which a person is considered legally intoxicated.
Cavanaugh was not arrested and authorities reportedly transported him to an area motel. Police filed an incident report which was then turned over to the Gladwin County Prosecutor's office.
After the OCSD was informed of the incident, Cavanaugh was placed on administrative leave for the two days he was scheduled to work that week, while McBride investigated the incident prior to firing Cavanaugh.
Although Cavanaugh may not have been charged, Sheriff McBride contends Cavanaugh's alleged behavior and actions were sufficient grounds for his firing on Feb. 20. According to McBride, the episode was preceded by several other incidents during Cavanaugh's five-year tenure with the department which also allegedly led to disciplinary action.
"Nick was a good deputy but he just didn't use a lot of common sense at times," McBride said of the former employee.
Cavanaugh was suspended last summer for his alleged involvement with another deputy in keeping confiscated fireworks for their own personal use.