Saturday, November 14, 2009

More news from Delaware

It will be interesting to watch this play out over the next weeks and months. -- Jim

From the Delaware Gazette:

County corrections officer under investigation
Friday, November 13, 2009

By MELISSA MACKEY

Staff Writer

The director of the Delaware County jail is on unpaid administrative leave pending an internal investigation by the Delaware County Sheriff on allegations of misconduct.

Sheriff Walter L. Davis II suspended Christopher L. Smith, 34, Monday and ordered him to turn in his handgun and badge and to not visit the jail or the sheriff’s office.

A letter in Smith’s personnel file states that he is being investigated for violation of office policies concerning non-discrimination and harassment.

The letter also states that Smith should have no contact with the person who filed a complaint against him and with employees of two companies that provide health care services at the jail. The investigation stems from an anonymous letter sent to county officials earlier this week.

The investigation is not a criminal investigation, a sheriff’s office spokesperson said.

Delaware County Commission president Tommy Thompson said he did not receive a copy of the letter about Smith, but heard about the situation from other county officials.

“Any information that was received or accusations have been handed over to the sheriff who is investigating it,” Thompson said.

The sheriff’s office also declined to talk about the existence of the letter and its contents due to the investigation.

Smith, who earns $51,002 a year as jail director, was hired at the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office in March 2008 after working for the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years. Smith does not have any disciplinary actions on file with the Morrow County sheriff, according to his personnel file.

Smith was honorably discharged for unsatisfactory performance from the United States Air Force Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, according to a certificate of release from the Air Force.

In an annual performance review dated Nov. 7, 2008 for the jail administration supervisor position Smith held prior to jail director, Smith’s superior wrote that Smith “needs to be mindful of his nonproductive activities to be able to complete daily tasks.”

Delaware County Commissioner Todd Hanks declined comment for this story, citing the ongoing investigation.

Delaware County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office projects coordinator Traci Whittaker declined to comment on whether the case was being looked at by the prosecutor’s office and referred all comments to the sheriff’s office.

Delaware County Commissioner Ken O’Brien and Smith could not immediately be reached for comment.

mmackey@delgazette.com

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