We have attached a copy of Former Deputy Austin Shepherd’s unredacted termination letter. The details outlined in the letter lead to his termination but also initiated an internal investigation as to whether criminal charges could be pursued. We also met with and solicited the assistance of our local FBI Office. We have concluded that based on the available information; there is not enough evidence available for a successful prosecution. Therefore, no criminal charges will be filed.
RICHMOND COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Sheriff Richard Roundtree
Law Enforcement Center 400 Walt on Way Augusta, GA 30901
Phone:706.821.1000 Fax : 706.821.1064
Austin Shepherd EMPLOYEE #: 14514 DATE OF VIOLATION : 3/11/2012
VIOLATION OF S.O.P. #: 3.7-1(A) Code of Conduct and Appearance
Alcohol and other Drug Misuse I Lying or Falsifying Documents
In March 2012 the previous administration conducted an internal investigation concerning you, Deputy Austin Shepherd, having contact with persons of q uestionable character and being absent from assignment. Du ring that investigation it was found that on March 11, 2012, while you were on duty assigned to the North Precinct (16 beat), at approximately 1120hours you were observed going into a residence on Davis Mill Road. This residence belonged to a known convicted drug dealer by the name of Stephen Marquise Crawford and had been under surveillance by the narcotics division . On March 29, 2012 you appea red in front of the Disciplinary Review Board to answer to these allegations. At the time you admitted going to Crawford’s residence off your beat while on duty and also knowing that he was a convicted d rug dealer. You claimed at the time that Crawford was a longtime friend and your only reason for being at the residence was to trade video games. The previous Sheriff Ronald Strength suspended you for 15 days and placed you on 12months probation. On December 19, 2013, Stephen Marquise Crawford was sentenced in Federal Court for Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana. After Crawford’s sentencing an investigator with this Sheriff s Office conducted an interview with Crawford. During the interview Crawford advised that he initially met you in 2006 or 2007 in Wrens, GA. Crawford advised that you were not in Law enforcement at the time and that you would purchase cocaine from him almost every day. Crawford also indicated that after you became a Deputy Sheriff he continued to sell you cocaine while you were in uniform and in your patrol vehicle and that this occurred at a minim um once a week. Crawford remembered your telephone number and provided the number (706-872-9772) to the investigator who verified the num ber was yours. Crawford also indicated that he received information from you concerning the operations of the narcotics division and that on some occasions you would trade dr11gs you confiscated from offenders with Crawford for cocaine. Crawford indicated he had not dealt with you since October 2012.
On Monday 12/30/2013 at 0959 hou rs Major Scott Peebles met with you in the CID polygraph suite. Major Peebles informed you of the allegation of illegal drug use made against you. Major Peebles read you the Garrity Warning which you signed. During your interview with Major Peebles you ind icated that you did use cocaine during college and that you lied on you r pre-em ployment application and polygraph concerning this matter. You also admitted to using cocaine while employed with the Sheriff s Office and that you bought the cocaine from Crawford while on d uty, in u niform, and in a patrol vehicle a “couple dozen times”. You further indicated that you had not used cocaine since April 2012 after being confronted by then Sheriff Ronald Strength. You further denied trading d rugs to Crawford and providin g Crawford with information concerning the narcotics division.
Your actions are in direct violation of 3.7-1 (A) Code of Conduct and Appearance to include Alcohol and other Drug Misuse which specifies that “employees will not possess or use any controlled substances, narcotics or hallucinogens except when prescribed for treatment by a physician or dentist,” and Lyi ng or Falsifying docu ments when yo u in ten tionally misled this agency d u ring you r pre-em ploy ment a pplication as to you r use of cocaine.
DISCIPLINARY ACTION INITIATED BY: Lt. Calvin Chew
PROPOSED ACTION: –