Lowndes officers fired for threatening child - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes officers fired for threatening child

February 10, 2003

Valdosta - It was business as usual Monday at the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department, minus five employees who were asked to resign after a "scared straight" session gone wrong with an eight year old boy.

"It's an extremely unfortunate incident and we just won't tolerate that here," said Sheriff Ashley Paulk.

Sheriff Paulk says its common for parents to bring unruly children to the sheriff's department for a brief discipline lesson. "They're short sessions where we just let them know what could happen if they keep up the bad behavior and that they could end up in jail," said Paulk.

But the violence and threats used in this case were unacceptable. "It's not like a boot camp, threats are out of the question, and no harm is caused to the kids," said Paulk. "We really just talk to them."

But five of his employees didn't follow those guidelines and now they're out of a job and could face criminal charges. Those involved are Lt. Calvin Troy, Sgt. Alvin Clarkston, and Detectives Roy Hart, Matt Bair and Wendy Lain.

After asking for the employees' resignations, the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department turned the case over to the District Attorney. Now's he's asked for help from the G.B.I.

"We're here to find out if criminal negligence was involved and determine whether or not they'll face criminal charges," said Ronnie Thompson, G.B.I. Agent.

Sheriff Paulk says the employees involved were a vital part of his force, but the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department will not employ anyone who threatens to cause harm rather than prevent it.

posted at 3:30 by ashley.harper@walb.com