Spokane County Sheriff will recoup Phillip Paul search expenses - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane County Sheriff will recoup Phillip Paul search expenses

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Phillip Paul is taken into custody Phillip Paul is taken into custody
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich
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SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington state and the Department of Social and Health Services say that the Spokane County Sheriff's Office will be reimbursed most, if not all, of the costs associated with the search for and eventual capture of Eastern State Hospital patient Phillip Paul.

The search for Paul lasted nearly four days after he walked away from ESH staff during an outing to the Spokane County Fair in September.

Paul eventually turned himself in to law enforcement officers on a rural south-central Washington highway on September 20.

The state and DSHS granted Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich's request to be reimbursed, for at least some of the costs, after Governor Gregoire received a letter from Knezovich in late October requesting $37,521.91 in reimbursement.

In that letter, Knezovich wrote that the search caused the Sheriff's Office to spend money vital to the department during one of Spokane County's worst economic periods and happened at a time when "the Sheriff's Office is struggling to maintain critical public safety services."

In the initial breakdown of costs released by the sheriff's office in late September, the sheriff's office and Spokane Valley Police reported spending $20,834.88 in overtime and $7,873.41 in costs associated with the sheriff's helicopter, among other charges.

Knezovich also stated that Paul's escape was preventable and was the result of flawed ESH policy.

"There were several indicators that Mr. Paul should not have been allowed out of his hospital ward, let alone taken on a field trip," wrote Knezovich on October 19.

KHQ is working to gather information on just how much of the nearly $40,000 will be reimbursed. Stay with KHQ.com for more information.

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