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Sheriff's investigator appeals firing
Civil service panel has 30 days to rule
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Forsyth County News
It could be a month before a former Forsyth County Sheriff’s investigator knows if he has succeeded in fighting his termination.

In a hearing that lasted nearly three days over two weeks, Charles Adams appealed his former employer’s decision to fire him April 29 based on charges he had been untruthful, misled his supervisors and neglected his duties.

The hearing before the Forsyth County Civil Service Board ended Friday. The board has 30 days to release its decision.

Attorney Lance LoRusso, who represented Adams, asked the board to reverse the termination, reward Adams with back pay and have the sheriff’s office notify the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST, of the reversal.

As a result of his termination, the 58-year-old Adams’ POST certification is under investigation and could be revoked.

Adams, a 39-year veteran of law enforcement, had worked for the sheriff’s office since 2002. He also ran unsuccessfully for the county’s clerk of court seat, falling to Greg Allen in the Republican primary runoff last August.

The three-member civil service board meets monthly to determine employee appeals on a case-by-case basis. Terminated employees who have civil service protection can appeal their firing to the panel.

During Adams' hearing, the board heard testimony from Sheriff’s Lt. Duane Piper about an April 13 meeting he and Capt. Mark Flowers had with Adams.

Piper, one of Adams’ supervisors, said the investigator lied to them about why he went to the department’s south precinct after an April 8 physical therapy session instead of returning to the north precinct.

Citing sheriff’s office policy, Piper said lying is a firable offense.

Adams, who originally worked out of the south precinct, had been reassigned to the north precinct and put on light duty while he recovered from a knee injury he suffered Feb. 19 while chasing a burglary suspect.

Piper also testified that during the meeting Adams gave three different reasons for going to the south precinct.

Adams countered that Piper was “totally out of control” in the April 13 meeting. He said Piper yelled at him and didn’t give him a chance to answer any questions.

“I’ve never been spoken to by a superior officer like that,” Adams said.

On a calendar submitted as evidence in the hearing, Adams described the incident and a previous meeting with Piper and Flowers as “abuse meetings.”

Adams said he never filed a complaint or reported Piper’s behavior toward him. He also said he told Piper and Flowers that Sgt. Jonathan Neville ordered him to go to the south precinct that day.

Attorney Paul Frickey, who represented the county, pointed out that in two statements Adams wrote during that meeting, no one told him to go to the south precinct.

“There is your case right there,” Frickey said.

Neville testified that he did not order Adams to go to the precinct that day. He said he was not expecting him, nor did he see him there.

Neville said he spoke with Adams in June 2008 about not following evidence procedures. He then wrote Adams up for the offense in February after inspecting his cubicle.

LoRusso contended Adams was discriminated against because of his age. The attorney also pointed out that two other former sheriff’s employees accused of lying had not been fired.

Don Carr, who has about 30 years of law enforcement experience and 11 years with the sheriff’s office, resigned May 1. He testified that he turned in his notice after confirming a rumor he might be terminated.

Gene Hodge retired March 13 after 29 years in law enforcement, more than half of which was with the sheriff’s office. He testified that he was written up in 2008 for being untruthful and suspended for three days.  

Both men said they were never told specifically what they were being accused of lying about.

E-mail Julie Arrington at