Sergeant's Personnel Files Include Mostly Praise, Some Warnings

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

The Eaton County Sheriff's Sergeant accused of shooting himself March 20 has a largely positive history at the department, according to his 500-plus page personnel obtained by News 10.

While there are some warnings about potential burn-out, the report contains nothing to indicate to an everyday observer he would shoot himself and blame a black man for it.

The records include performance reviews, one calling Lutz "the hardest worker on his shift." He's praised for his conduct as an officer -- and he's praised for his dealings with the public.

Eaton County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Brian Peacock says the file is mostly positive.

"The only thing out of the ordinary is the extraordinary work record," Peacock said.

Lutz is described as dedicated, but at one point, superiors told him he was "taking on too many investigations."

"...It was difficult to complete all of them," Peacock said.

A few reports advised Lutz "not to let his emotions get in the way" of his work.

The file contains no citizen complaints. There are also no discplinary reports.

"If someone is discplined, the record will go into his file for a prescribed period," Peacock said. After that time, he says, the discipline record is removed.

But Peacock says beyond the limited memory of the personnel file, he doesn't remember any significant disciplinary action taken against the sergeant.

The records show a commendation for Lutz after he was shot in the shoulder in 1996. We didn't see any records of another shooting he was involved in -- this one at a Red Robin restaurant in November 2004.

Lutz's attorney says his client's mental condition has been questionable since then, particularly in the weeks and days before the March 20 shooting. Peacock says he didn't see any evidence of that in the files.

Based on the records and his own memory, Peacock says he couldn't envision Lutz doing what he's accused of: Faking his own shooting.

"Certainly nothing in his career that would have forewarned us or made any sense of this allegation," Peacock said.

Records of psychiatric evaluations required after the Red Robin shooting were not included in the report. Then-Sheriff Rep. Rick Jones (R - Grand Ledge) has said Lutz was given proper mental health evaluations and treatment.

The sheriff's department tells us those records are kept in a separate, private file.

Lutz, who is charged with two felonies in connection with the March 20 shooting, has been serving in the department for nearly 15 years.

He is scheduled to appear in court for an evidence hearing two weeks from now.

-- in Lansing, Tony Tagliavia, News 10.

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