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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Merit Board reviews accident involving deputy

Friday, September 21, 2007

Personnel issues were on the agenda at the rescheduled meeting of the Clay County Sheriff's Merit Board on Sept. 10.

"Labor Day forced the regular meeting date to be moved," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton said.

The board reviewed the interdepartmental investigation into a head-on collision near the 6 Points Trading Post on State Road 46 involving Deputy Brison Swearingen on Sept. 1. The investigation showed that Swearingen was not guilty of any criminal violations, but did not follow various incident procedures that are used by deputies in answering all calls.

While "marking" his arrival at the scene of a stolen vehicle report at the 6 Points Trading Post, Swearingen violated standard procedures by announcing it early to dispatchers and preparing to exit the vehicle while turning into the driveway of the store, which distracted him just before the collision.

The board placed Swearingen on administrative leave, with pay, for three days.

"Deputy Swearingen was distracted while answering a call and violated some minor department procedures," Heaton said about the reprimand. "They have to obey all traffic laws the same as the public. Officers have to operate their vehicles in the best interest of the public."

After discussing plans for hiring a new deputy in January, upon the county's 2008 budget approval by the state, the board filled two vacant positions.

The board selected Brazil City Patrolman Josh Krause to fill a vacant deputy position. With his academy training already completed, Krause is expected to begin departmental training later this month and be released for roadwork in October.

"The most expensive part of a new hire process is paying an officer his salary while he completes his academy training," Heaton said. "We avoid that cost with this selection. We are looking forward to Krause joining the department."

Three candidates interviewed for the vacant Road Sergeant position, which was created when Rob Gambill replaced former Chief Deputy Doug Barr.

"I know it was a tough decision for them," Heaton said about seasoned officers Jerry Siddons, Josh Clarke and Jason Frazier interviewing with the board. "All of them are exceptional officers, each with their own special qualifications and areas of expertise."

With a few more years of departmental experience, Frazier was selected and placed on a probationary period until final Merit Board approval next year.

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