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Hearing date set for terminated deputy

POSTED: January 11, 2014 12:01 a.m.
 

The Forsyth County Civil Service Board will hear next month from a former sheriff’s deputy seeking to get reinstated to the force

During a meeting Thursday, the three-member panel set Robine Riffle’s appeal for Feb. 13.

Riffle was fired Dec. 5 from the sheriff’s office for neglect of duty and failure to comply with orders, as well as “prior job performance record,” according to the termination notice.

The letter from Maj. Mark Hoffman references an Oct. 23 vehicle pursuit, stating Riffle “failed to take appropriate action and give suitable attention” during the chase, as well as not immediately stopping to help fellow officers get the suspect in custody.

The notice also states Riffle didn’t complete a supplemental report of the incident as directed.

Riffle did not provide any additional information about the incident in her Dec. 30 request for a civil service board appeal, stating only that she wanted a hearing.

Board clerk Charity Clark said the request letter wasn’t received by the Dec. 31 deadline, but had been postmarked by that date and misplaced in the post office.

“We didn’t receive it until Jan. 3,” Clark said, “but the documented extenuating circumstances [showed] that if the the letter hadn’t been put in the wrong bin, we would have received it timely.”

Riffle did not intend on having an attorney for the hearing as of the Thursday meeting, Clark said, but had made that decision based on an outdated version of civil service policy she maintains was provided to her.

Until commissioners changed the policy Aug. 1, it stated that if an appellant didn’t hire an attorney, the county wouldn’t either.

However, Sheriff Duane Piper contended that as a constitutional officer he should retain the right to determine whether to have counsel represent the agency at a hearing, and it led to the policy change.

The sheriff has not indicated whether he intended to have an attorney for this hearing, Clark said.

The Oct. 23 car chase at issue started with two investigators going to speak with a burglary suspect at a Buford Highway home.

The resident saw the officers and drove away quickly, reportedly aiming the vehicle at one of them as he left, nearly striking him.

The chase traveled west on Hwy. 20 and ended at Sanders Road, where 33-year-old Jeffery Scott Hamilton was arrested.

Among the charges, Hamilton faces two counts of aggravated assault on an officer and failure to obey traffic devices. He also faces one count each of driving while unlicensed, fleeing or attempting to elude, failure to stop and driving on the wrong side of a divided road.

In addition, he has been charged with theft by deception and possession of methamphetamine and drug-related objects, according to the sheriff's office.

 

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