Knox County Sheriff's Office fires deputy Jason Williams for 'disgraceful behavior'

2:01 PM, Aug 20, 2013   |    comments
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KCSO said Deputy Jason Williams, 40, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and three counts of theft.

Knox County Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones fired a deputy who was arrested this weekend.

Jason Williams, 40, is accused of stealing a car and attempting to drive it drunk. The former Knox County Corrections officer was still in jail Monday afternoon. It's the same jail where he worked for the past 10 years.

He received a letter from Sheriff Jones Monday morning explaining the rules he violated. His own department charged him with three counts of theft and DUI.

The letter said, "Your disgraceful behavior and dereliction of duty has jeopardized the Sheriff's Office."

KCSO responded to a call at the Cotton Eyed Joe in West Knox County Friday night around 10:30 p.m. The incident report shows two people reported their cell phones, bag, and keys to a Lexus were stolen while they were dancing. They went outside to look for the car and couldn't find it.

Investigators wrote that witnesses confronted Williams when they saw him in the parking lot with the missing phones and key and it led to a fight. The witnesses held Williams until the deputies arrived.

The report said Williams told deputies he found the bag and in an attempt to locate the owner used key buttons to find the car. He then said he drove the car but when he was about to leave the property, he changed his mind and instead he left it at the end of the parking lot.

Deputies said Williams was unable to perform a sobriety test because of his combative behavior.

One of the victims said in a phone interview she had never seen Williams before Friday night and she didn't know why he would attempt to steal her belongings. She also said she felt sorry for him and hopes he only receives probation.

Williams personnel file shows he worked for KCSO since 2003. He was promoted to patrol officer in 2008, but during training, his sergeant said he had many "safety problems and initiated activity problems throughout the field training officer program. The department demoted him back to a non-law enforcement position per the sergeant's recommendation.

Williams worked in the detention center's radio shop and received average or above average scores on his latest evaluation, though he made several below standard scores on previous evaluations.

Williams is being held in the Knox County Detention Facility on a $17,000 bond.

Below is the full termination letter from Sheriff Jones:

"As you are aware, the Knox County Sheriff's Office General Orders, Policies and Procedures, Employee Handbook and Merit Council Procedures clearly states that all employees, whether on or off duty, shall be governed by the ordinary and reasonable rules of good conduct and behavior and shall not commit any negligent, malicious or criminal act, which may bring reproach or discredit upon themselves or the Knox County Sheriff's Office.

Based on the findings of this review, you are in violation of General Order 2001, Section I-Professional Conduct and Responsibility. Your disgraceful behavior and dereliction of duty has jeopardized the Sheriff's Office. This review has also revealed that you have violated the following Merit Council Rules which has warranted you unsuitable for continued employment with the Knox County Sheriff's Office. 9.3-b, Moral or ethical situations that make the employee unsuitable, 9.3-c, Theft or wanton destruction of property, 9.3 g, Notoriously disgraceful personal conduct.

This letter therefore constitutes your notice under Merit Council Rule 9.3 that your employment with this agency is terminated effective August 19, 2013. According to Merit Council rule you have seven (7) days to submit to me in writing information you feel relevant to the charges outlined above."

A release from the sheriff's office said Williams had blood drawn at UT Medical center and the results are pending.

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Knox County Sheriff's office said deputy Jason Williams, 40, was arrested Friday evening and charged with driving under the influence and three counts of theft.

He is being held at the Knox County Detention Facility on a $17,000 bond.

KCSO said Williams is a member of the Radio Unit, where he works on two-way radios.

According to KCSO, deputies were called out to Cotton Eyed Joe's in West Knox County around 10:30 p.m. Friday on a disturbance call.

Witnesses said Williams took off with a bag containing two cell phones and car keys.

The owners of the stolen items found Williams in the parking lot with the stolen bag and cell phones. The car had been moved to a different side of the parking lot from where they had left it.

According to KCSO, Williams said he drove the victims' car but then decided not to take it and left it at the end of the parking lot.

Williams and witnesses then got in a physical altercation.

KCSO said the incident report stated officers found Williams unsteady on his feet, had watery, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.

Williams was unable to perform a field sobriety test due to his aggressive behavior.

Sherriff J.J. Jones said official administrative action will happen at 9 a.m. Monday.


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