JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO - The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in Missouri is apologizing after surveillance footage shows a deputy covering up a home owner's camera.
Ashley Mathis, the woman who lives at the home, told KTVI there have been events in the neighborhood that make her feel uneasy and the cameras are there for her safety.
The surveillance footage shows three deputies in the area of the home's front yard, then one deputy approaches the camera and covers the lens up.
Staff with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office told KTVI the incident is being investigated and they believe the deputy displayed a lack of judgment. The office issued this statement on Facebook:
"The Sheriff’s Office was recently made aware of a situation in which a Deputy covered an outdoor surveillance camera at the home of a private residence. Upon learning of the incident, our Office of Professional Standards was notified and immediately proceeded to investigate the allegation. While the investigation is nearly complete, the following is preliminarily offered:
Deputies were sent to the residence at the request of another agency to verify the possible address of a sex offender with a warrant. Upon leaving (without the verification and/or person they were looking for), a single Deputy covered an exterior camera with mud. While the deputies were familiar with the residence and thought they may be back for the subject, it is not an excuse for the action(s) of covering the camera. Again, we offer no valid excuse for the actions of our Deputy.
Our supervisor from the Office of Professional Standards has been in touch with the homeowner, and Sheriff Marshak personally spoke with the homeowner today to apologize for this incident. In fairness to the homeowner, (and according to the homeowner), the sex offender no longer resides at that residence. One piece of the investigation will hopefully determine why the address is still being used.
Our organization has a lengthy history with this residence, but we have valued the open communication with the homeowners. Tonight, we will share with our community what we shared with them, and that was we did not behave according to our own standards. We apologize for this incident, and we will address the issue to reduce the likelihood of this happening again. Again, no excuses from us, but a simple apology to the homeowner and our community. We will do better."
Mathis said she does not accept the apology and said she is upset the post from the sheriff's office included that deputies were familiar with her home. She said there have been incidents at the home in the past but not recently.