Hitchcock enters not guilty plea in CCSO theft case

Raymond Hitchcock made an initial appearance in Justice Court on April 29 and entered a not guilty plea.

Hitchcock is a former Cascade County Sheriff’s Office deputy and in late March was charged with a single count of misdemeanor theft by embezzlement.

Hitchcock requested a jury trial for his case and Justice of the Peace Mary Jolley told him that it would take about a month to schedule a trial.

The charge carries a maximum fine of $500.

Charges filed against second former CCSO employee 

Paul Haffeman, a Great Falls attorney, is representing Hitchcock who now lives in Townsend since retiring from CCSO in June 2017.

County approves prosecutorial assistance in second CCSO case, no charges yet filed

The charges stem from the same investigation by the Division of Criminal Investigation within the Montana Department of Justice that resulted in a felony theft charge against former undersheriff John Stevens.

Former CCSO undersheriff charged with felony theft

In August 2018, DCI was assigned to investigate allegations of theft occurring at CCSO, including Hitchcock, according to court documents.

Hitchcock was employed at CCSO for 27 years, becoming the captain of operations before retiring in June 2017, according to court documents.

During his time at CCSO, he was assigned multiple firearms, including a Glock 43, according to court documents.

The Glock 43 was purchased with county funds, according to county records.

Former county employee pleaded guilty in federal court to $31K theft from Cascade County Sheriff’s Office

When Hitchcock retired, he allegedly took the firearm with him without authorization or documentation and did not reimburse the county, according to court documents.

After being interviewed by DCI, he returned the weapon, which is valued at less than $1,500, according to court documents.

As was the case with Stevens, upon retirement, Hitchcock was presented with an engraved shotgun from the sheriff’s association, which reimbursed the county for the firearm.

DCI investigating irregular purchases at Cascade County Sheriff’s Office

Law enforcement officers are allowed to purchase firearms when they retire but there are rules.

State law allows retiring law enforcement officers who are eligible for a retirement benefit defined in the law to request to purchase firearms that have been issued to them and are legal for a private citizen to posses. If the request is accepted, the parties shall agree on the purchase price, not to exceed fair market value.

Stevens was arraigned in March and entered a not guilty plea. A jury trial in his case has been scheduled for July.

New judge assigned to Stevens case; county currently hiring for DES job

Stevens was the DES/emergency manager for Cascade County at the time he was charged, but is no longer employed by the county, according to several county officials.

The witness list in both cases is similar and includes: DCI agents; fomer sheriff Bob Edwards; Dan O’Fallon and Dave Phillips, both now retired from CCSO; someone from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the county attorney; staff from the county clerk and recorder’s office; firearms dealers and others.