Officer allegedly menaced teenager

Officer allegedly menaced teenager

A Medford police officer faces charges of menacing and official misconduct for reportedly threatening a 15-year-old who had run away from the Jackson County Juvenile Justice Center.

Travis Henson, 35, was put on paid administrative leave after apprehending the juvenile May 28 and threatening to shoot him in the eye with his Taser if he ran away again, according to a Jackson County Circuit Court indictment.

"It saddens me that an officer has been accused in this event," Medford police Chief Randy Schoen said. "We don't want this to overshadow the good job our other 102 officers do every day."

Henson took the teen into custody twice in 12 hours after he ran away from the justice center. The alleged mistreatment occurred during the second trip back to the center, officials said.

"(Henson) apparently was attempting his version of 'Scared Straight'," Schoen said. "It's not something we condone."

The teen told intake workers at the justice center Henson had threatened him in the patrol car. The workers then called Oregon State Police, Schoen said.

"We then requested that they conduct a criminal investigation into the event," Schoen said.

OSP's findings were then turned over to the Douglas County District Attorney's Office, at Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston's request.

A Jackson County grand jury handed down an indictment Wednesday charging Henson with menacing and first-degree official misconduct, both misdemeanors.

Medford police will now begin an internal investigation to determine whether Henson will be disciplined by the department. The investigation should be completed in a few weeks, Schoen said.

"One possible outcome of the internal investigation is that the officer could be fired," Schoen said.

Henson joined the department in July 2003 after a stint in the Oregon State Police after graduating from Eagle Point High School.

In addition, he is a commissioned senior reserve officer with the Coast Guard. He patrolled the waters off Cuba between May 2004 and January 2005.

Schoen was not aware of any complaints against Henson during his time with the department or while he was an OSP trooper.

The department hoped to deal with the situation much earlier, but the OSP detective broke his ankle during the investigation and the Douglas County deputy district attorney transferred to another county soon after accepting the case, Schoen said.

Henson is scheduled to appear in Circuit Court on Oct. 5.

"Officer Henson's been a good employee up until this point," Schoen said. "He is entitled to due process to defend his actions."

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471, or e-mail

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