RCSO cracking down on 'special' side jobs for deputies

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- With the holidays around the corner, more events will be happening, meaning more need for law enforcement presence.

When a deputy works an event, it's called a "special". Think of it as a side job but we've seen deputies take advantage of these jobs.

"More than 50% of our deputies are working special duty assignments," said Major Calvin Chew.

Major Calvin Chew with Richmond County Sheriff’s Office field operations says a big reason for that is low pay. But he says that's no excuse for breaking their oath.

"And sometimes that has to do with being lazy and not doing what you're supposed to be doing but when you're in law enforcement you cannot cut corners,” said Chew.

Last year two Richmond County deputies were arrested and fired after being charged with theft by deception.

"I cannot justify what they did," said Chew.

Warrants say Richard Elim got paid for inspecting lottery machines even though he had not. James Ouzts was double-dipping, getting paid for a side job at a nightclub while still on duty with the county.

"For such a large agency we don't expect to not have issues from time to time we are going to have issues, it's how we attack that issue and follow up on that issue and make sure that issue doesn't happen again,” said Chew.

Major Chew says they're cracking down.

"We're more stricter in following up and making sure and having the supervisors understand that this job comes first special duty assignments are second," said Chew.

He says they also have ways of tracking the location of their deputies, making sure they're following policy and the law. If more deputies break the rules the sheriff has the right to take away specials.

"You have a few bad apples and hopefully we'll make it fewer and fewer where it just never occurs again," said Chew.

Another thing the sheriff's office is watching is how many hours a deputy is working. They are not going to let deputies work a 12-hour special and then turn around and head to work. Major Chew says they need time to recuperate so they can be sharp while on duty.

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