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Three officers suspended in Scott County

Wes Bunch • Feb 12, 2014 at 5:52 PM

GATE CITY — The Scott County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday that three officers have been disciplined for violating department policy.

Scott County Sheriff John Puckett said he suspended Sgt. Ted Fletcher, a shift supervisor, and patrol officers John Gillenwater and Chris Kilgore without pay as a result of the incident.

Fletcher was suspended for 30 days and had his rank pulled, while both Gillenwater and Kilgore were given three-day suspensions.

“We gave them time off and so forth for violating the sheriff’s office policy,” Puckett said. “They are all three good officers and they made a mistake. They just need to get this behind them, learn from their mistakes and become better police officers, because they are all good police officers.”

Puckett said this was the first disciplinary measure for any of the officers.

The suspensions reportedly stemmed from a collision that occurred last week between two cruisers responding to a call in the Weber City area. Fletcher was driving one cruiser, while the other two officers were in the second.

“There were two vehicles responding to a call and they did hit together,” Puckett said. “It did minor damage, something like $200 or $300 worth of damage, and they violated our policy because whenever a supervisor is involved in an accident they have to have another supervisor come and do a report.”

Instead of following that protocol, Puckett said the officer who was a passenger in one of the cruisers wrote up the report on the accident. A separate supervisor besides Fletcher was not called to the scene.

The original report also contained several inaccuracies that were corrected before it was officially submitted, Puckett said.

Puckett said the impact occurred when the two cruisers were traveling side-by-side across the Holston River bridge in Weber City. Puckett said one of the cruisers crossed over into the other lane and sideswipped the second cruiser.

Puckett denied rumors that the officers were racing each other to get to the call.

“There was no road rage, or racing involved, or anything like that,” Puckett said.

Puckett also said the officers were not misleading about the incident when questioned by their superiors.

“None of the officers lied to me,” Puckett said. “Whenever I talked to them they told me everything that happened, the day it happened and all that. It’s being handled internally and I think the punishment we gave fits what happened.”

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