UPDATE: Richmond Co. deputy fired after internal investigation

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email
Deputy Wade Smith (WRDW-TV)

Deputy Wade Smith (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, June 4, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A Richmond County deputy is out of a job after investigators say he violated Sheriff's Office policies.

Deputy Wade Smith has been with department for more than a decade. Investigators say he failed to document drugs, money and a handgun he confiscated in a bust.

"In this case we dropped the ball. Whether it's us not training our officer properly or whatever, in this case, we dropped the ball," said Lt. Calvin Chew with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Chew has known Deputy Smith for eight years.

"It's devastating to the department, and to you as a person, when you know a friend or a comrade does something wrong," Chew said.

Smith worked for the department since 2002, spending most of his time on road patrol and one year in narcotics.

"I know him from working with him and dealing with him on calls, and so forth, and I would've never thought about this or even considered this," Chew said.

In November, Smith was working road patrol when he was sent to a house. At that house, investigators say Smith confiscated a large amount of marijuana, a handgun and money, but the Sheriff's Office hasn't been able to find any documents or the evidence.

"In this case ,a deputy didn't do what he was supposed to do, and in turn, now we're looking for evidence [that] can possibly exonerate a defendant or put him in jail," Chew said. "If we can't find that evidence, that defendant could go scot-free if he's guilty."

Chew says the incident violated policies and procedures which led to Smith being fired, but it also creates another problem.

"Being a law enforcement officer, your credibility means everything," he said. "When you go to court and you testify, your credibility means everything, and if his credibility is gone because of this, it causes a major problem."

The Sheriff's Office says they were notified by lawyers that the evidence was never logged.

Chew said the defendant was not on trial as of Tuesday and that the trial has been postponed.

At this point, they have no documents or evidence, so they aren't sure what happened.

Smith says he destroyed the drugs, discarded the weapon and gave the money to a family member of the suspect.

The Sheriff's Office is continuing their investigation. They say they will turn all their findings over to the district attorney and Smith could face criminal charges.

Initial report:

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A deputy from the Richmond County Sheriff's Office is off the job after an internal investigation.

The Sheriff's Office says Deputy Wade Smith violated polices and procedures while handling property that was seized from a defendant in November.

The investigation revealed that Smith took a large amount of marijuana, money and a handgun without properly reporting it. Smith claimed the marijuana was destroyed, the handgun was thrown away and the cash was given to a relative from the suspect, but investigators could not find evidence to support the claim.

The investigation began on May 29 and is still ongoing. When the investigation is complete, it will be forwarded on to the District Attorney's Office for possible prosecution.

Smith had been with the Sheriff’s Office since March 2002.

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