One Resignation, One Termination
Sheriff Scott Berry announces the termination of one Sheriff’s Office employee and the resignation of another following an internal investigation. Deputy Dewayne Powers who had been employed since November of 2010 was terminated. Deputy Andrea Rogers who had been employed since August of 2010 resigned. Both were assigned to the jail.
On July 23, 2012, Sheriff Berry received information concerning inappropriate communications between two male jailers and a female inmate. Upon interviewing the inmate and her cell mate, it was revealed that both jailers had sent Facebook “friend” request to the inmate and that Powers had sent a text message to the inmate’s phone. As the inmate was incarcerated, she did not have access to her phone or a computer to respond, but a check of her account and phone established that the conduct did indeed occur. It was also alleged that conversations of a sexual nature had taken place between the jailers and the inmate. We will not reveal the identity of the female inmate.
There is no evidence that any physical contact ever took place.
Immediately after interviewing the inmates, all access to the Sheriff’s Office facilities and computer systems was shut down for the involved employees. Chief Deputy Weems interviewed both deputies on July 24, 2012, at which time both deputies admitted to the electronic contact. Both deputies were suspended with pay at that time, and Sheriff Berry, per the county personnel policy, served them with notice that he intended to take disciplinary action, and a hearing for each employee was scheduled for August 3, 2012.
After evidence and testimony was presented at the hearing from both the investigation and in defense of the employees, Sheriff Berry terminated Powers and Rogers resigned. Powers, again per the personnel policy, had 10 days to appeal, and the appeals period has passed with no appeal.
We do not normally issue information releases on disciplinary actions; however, we do in this case in response to rumors about sexual acts between staff and inmates and several media inquiries into the matter. We stress again that there is no evidence on any actual physical contact having taken place, and such was adamantly denied by all parties involved.