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Bowers retires from sheriff’s department

Deputy has been on paid leave since February 2017

A Taylor County sheriff’s deputy who has been on paid administrative leave for more than five years is retiring.

Steve Bowers was placed on administrative leave in February 2017 after it was found that he released case information to the producers of a true crime television program without prior permission.

Bowers received a suspension and demotion from the county’s personnel committee for violating department rules. The Wisconsin Attorney General’s office also filed felony criminal charges for misconduct in office against Bowers. Bowers has fought those charges arguing that the county erred in conducting the initial search of Bowers’ private online data storage account without first getting a search warrant.

Pending the outcome of the criminal case, Bowers had continued to receive his pay and benefits as a Taylor County Sheriff’s Deputy. Last month, Taylor County Sheriff Larry Woebbeking called on Bowers to return to work as a deputy. Bowers instead chose to retire. Under terms of a “Release and Retirement” agreement dated May 6, Bowers agreed to retire from his position with the county effective June 23. The agreement stipulates that Bowers will not file any action or lawsuit against the county for failure to re-employ him in the future. The agreement also stipulates the county will give a neutral reference if contacted by any future employer.

The agreement states that Bowers will remain on administrative leave through May 8. From May 9 through and including June 23 Bowers will use a portion of his unused paid vacation and paid personal leave hours. This works out to 252 vacation hours and 24 personal day hours for a total of 276 hours. He will receive his final regular paycheck from Taylor County on July 7.

Bowers will be parsed out for the remainder of his vacation time of 228 hours for a gross amount of $6,705.48. He will also receive 75% of his accumulated sick leave balance currently at 640 hours paid totaling $14,116.80 to be paid into a retirement savings plan under terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

The attorney general’s criminal case against Bowers is still ongoing.