Ithaca, N.Y. — A deputy has been suspended from the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office after he was accused of assault and robbery this week.

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Jeremy Vann, 30, faces three felony charges after a recent incident involving a young woman in a Tompkins County home. Still, Vann will continue to be paid by the sheriff’s office during his suspension — a fact that prompted criticism and questions from some Ithaca Voice readers.

Why will Vann continue to get paid? Ashley Rackl, executive assistant to the Sheriff Ken Lansing, said it’s because of the union contract signed by law enforcement.

“It’s part of the bargaining agreement: It’s in their contract,” Rackl said in a brief interview. “It’s defined in the collective agreement part of the deputies’ union.”

Joe Mareane, the county administrator, also said the county does not have a choice under the contract signed with the Road Patrol Union but to pay the suspended deputy.

He stressed that there’s a difference between the judicial system through which Vann will be tried and the “the arena of personnel and contracts” under which the county has preexisting obligations.

“We’re obligated to pay during a suspension for 30 days,” Mareane said. “We don’t always like that we have an obligation to make payment.”

Unanswered questions

Rackl said she couldn’t say if Vann’s pay would remain the same or be reduced during his suspension.

Deputy Vann was paid about $76,601 in 2014, according to the watchdog site SeeThroughNY.net. He also made about $89,000 in 2013 and $64,000 in 2012, SeeThroughNY says.

Bail for Vann’s release was set at $5,000 cash or $50,000 bond at his arraignment. He was arrested on Monday, according to a news release from state police.

Vann has since been released, according to a corrections officer in the Tompkins County Jail who refused to be identified. Speaking Wednesday afternoon, the corrections officer added that she couldn’t disclose when Vann had been taken to the jail or when Vann had been allowed to leave.

Vann was accused in connection with an incident in a Town of Enfield home involving a 22-year-old woman. The incident occurred during the overnight hours of Sunday, March 29 and Monday, March 30.

State police said they would not explain what happened or why Vann was charged. Senior Inv. Rick Haas said that questions about the arrest would have to be referred to Tompkins County Sheriff Ken Lansing.

“We have no comment. If you want any questions answered contact the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department,” Haas said.

But Rackl, of the sheriff’s office, told an Ithaca Voice reporter that the investigation was being handled by the state police. “We’re not giving out a ton of info; there’s an investigation by the state police,” she said.

Vann’s arrest was announced through a news release from state police. The sheriff’s office “assisted” the state police investigation leading to Vann’s arrest, the news release said.

The news release did not specify how the sheriff’s office was involved in the investigation.

Vann has been an employee of the sheriff’s office since at least 2011, according to SeeThroughNY.

Vann faces the following felony charges:

— Robbery in the Third Degree

— Tampering with Physical Evidence

—  Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree

And the following misdemeanor charges:

— Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree

— Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation

— Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree

— Assault in the Third Degree

The writer of this story, Jeff Stein, can be reached at jstein@ithacavoice.com or 917-887-2891.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.