Dressed in an orange jumpsuit with his hands and feet shackled, former Dawson County Sheriff’s Officer Kenneth Cannon admitted he impersonated a state patrol officer to illegally gather information on his ex-wife.
Cannon, 40, entered a guilty plea to charges of impersonating an officer, computer invasion of privacy and aggravated stalking in Lumpkin County court last Wednesday. The charges are felonies.
He also admitted to plotting an unsuccessful escape from the Lumpkin County Jail, where he has been held since his arrest in April.
Cannon received a 10-year sentence with five years to serve in a state penitentiary in exchange for his negotiated plea. The remaining time will be served on probation.
He was also ordered to complete family violence classes and pay $2,500 in fines.
Upon his release, Cannon may not live in Dawson and Lumpkin counties, or anywhere else in the Enotah Judicial District, which also includes Towns, Union and White counties.
Had the case gone to trial, Lumpkin County District Attorney Stan Gunter said he was confident Cannon would have been found guilty of the charges.
Cannon began working for Dawson County in January 2006, rising from jailer to patrol officer and then investigator.
He resigned in February amid an internal affairs investigation into workplace harassment.
The investigation began after Cannon’s then wife, who works at the sheriff’s office and had begun divorce proceedings, filed a workplace harassment complaint against Cannon.
While on paid administrative leave, Cannon continued to make attempts to contact the woman at work, violating the protective order she had against him.
Cannon, a Murrayville resident, was arrested April 29 after a traffic stop on Thompson Bridge Road in northern Hall County.
The arrest stemmed from a March 20 incident in which Cannon reportedly posed as a Georgia State Patrol trooper to check his ex-wife’s car tag. He reportedly called the Banks County Communications Center to run her tag number from his cell phone from a location in Lumpkin County.
A veteran law enforcement officer who also served in the military, Cannon is no stranger to media attention.
In 2000, Cannon’s killing of a neighbor’s dog while employed as a Gainesville police officer drew national attention.
According to court records, Cannon shot a neighbor’s German shepherd with an assault rifle 10 days after the dog attacked one of his children.
A jury later acquitted him on a charge of cruelty to animals.