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Deputy under investigation for illegal hunting

Becker County Deputy Tim Haverkamp has been on paid administrative leave since Oct. 31 pending the results of an investigation into a hunting-related incident.

It's not clear what exactly he's accused of -- the case is under investigation and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has refused to release any arrest or other information, citing the state's Data Practices Act.

The investigation was launched following action taken by conservation officer Allen Peterson, who declined to comment.

Haverkamp's attorney, Paul Thorwaldsen of Detroit Lakes, said the incident should not result in charges.

"From the information that I have, there is absolutely no basis whatsoever for charges being brought against Officer Haverkamp for taking of a big game animal," he said.

Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon said his office is conducting a parallel internal investigation, but both investigations are waiting for an analysis of forensic evidence (involving a deer) that is now trapped in a "huge backlog" at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension laboratories.

"There are a lot of rumors going around," he said. "Some of them are very inaccurate." He said he could not provide more information because of state privacy laws.

The Department of Natural Resources is leading the criminal investigation, and Gordon said "the sheriff's office is fully cooperating with them to resolve this issue ... I'm hoping the forensic evidence will prove conclusively one way or the other."

Placing an officer on paid administrative leave is standard practice during an investigation, Gordon said.

Haverkamp joined the sheriff's department as a part-timer in April of 2001 and has been a full-time deputy since August of 2001.