A Dawson County Sheriff's Office employee was fired last week and another is on leave after an inquest revealed the two lied about being engaged in an inappropriate relationship.
Jennifer Mott, a detention officer, was fired Jan. 11 after an internal affairs investigation confirmed policy violations stemming from a relationship occurring between Mott and her supervisor.
The internal affairs investigation revealed that Mott intentionally and knowingly lied to supervisors when questioned about the existence of a relationship.
Mott, 30, was hired in April 2016, and due to her still serving on a probationary status, her employment was immediately terminated.
According to sheriff's office policy, any employee serving in the initial 12-month probationary period may be terminated from employment by the chief deputy for any reason deemed to be in the best interests of the agency.
The supervisor, who holds the rank of corporal, has been placed on administrative leave pending the final outcome of the disciplinary process, according to Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson.
That person's name has not been released so as to not affect the outcome of the disciplinary hearing.
A pre-disciplinary hearing was held on Tuesday for the supervisor, and a notice of adverse disciplinary action and an actual disciplinary hearing subsequently will be held. The supervisor will have five days afterwards to appeal, Johnson said.
Final action most likely will not be taken against the officer until after Feb. 1.
According to Johnson, the relationship was discussed within the department as early as August, which prompted then Detention Commander David Lingerfelt to inquire about the relationship.
According to the personnel management policy, "it is strongly discouraged for any supervisor and any subordinate throughout the agency to establish a dating/intimate relationship. In the event that a supervisor and a subordinate do establish such a relationship, the supervisor must immediately advise his or her division commander or deputy chief. Failure to disclose the relationship by the supervisor may result in disciplinary action.
"Also, if in the same supervisory chain-of-command, either the supervisor or the subordinate will be transferred out of the other's chain-of-command if a position exists and he or she is qualified. If no other agency position exists that he or she is qualified for, the supervisor may be removed from his or her supervisory position as deemed appropriate by the sheriff."
Johnson said it is not the existence of the relationship that has resulted in the disciplinary action, but the confirmed and admitted dishonesty.
Under the sheriff's office code of conduct, it is expected that each employee shall be truthful in all matters and will not make any false statement or intentionally misrepresent facts under any circumstances.
"I appreciate the hard work and sacrifices our law enforcement professionals make on a daily basis," Johnson said. "I know that they will make mistakes, but being dishonest is not a mistake. Dishonesty is a choice and comes with a consequence. In these cases, there is no room for tolerance.
"Unfortunately, anytime an officer comprises his or her honesty, their trust will always be in question," he added. "Integrity and credibility are absolute necessities in this profession."
For updates check back at dawsonnews.com and in the next edition of the Dawson County News.