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DA investigating incident involving Union County sheriff

The DA is investigating after WBIR inquired whether a Maynardville police officer observed the sheriff having sex with an employee in his car.

MAYNARDVILLE, Tenn. — The Fourth District Attorney General's Office said it is now investigating an incident involving Union County Sheriff Billy Breeding after a Union County commissioner called for a state investigation.

The District Attorney had initially asked for an outside prosecutor to review the sheriff's conduct.

The move follows inquiries by WBIR in late February about whether a Maynardville police officer saw Breeding having sex with a female subordinate earlier this year in his car.

Commissioner Jeff Brantley said he's been told it happened about six weeks ago near the new farmer's market in Maynardville. He said several people, including an officer with the department, told him the sheriff was in his personal vehicle and that the woman was a department cadet. 

"This is an election year and unfortunately sometimes that brings out the worst in people," Breeding told 10News on Friday. 

He said no investigators have reached out to him about it but declined to say whether the incident occurred or not.  

Brantley wants the state Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) to examine Breeding's conduct. 

"It’s about time we got some law in this county," he said.

Breeding is currently on POST probation after investigators found he knew his deputies were cheating on a test administered as part of annual state training. 

RELATED: DA asks for outside prosecutor to review Union County sheriff's conduct

RELATED: Sheriff gets probation for letting deputies cheat on state-mandated training test

"The sheriff is an embarrassment," Brantley said Monday. "We all make mistakes, but he’s got consecutive mistakes."

"I think it would be good for Union County to remove him from the picture," Brantley said.

If POST takes action against Breeding, defense attorney T. Scott Jones said it would likely negate his ability to serve as sheriff. 

"I would expect POST, at the very least, to initiate an investigation to look at it," he said. "He has literally opened Pandora's box and you have to consider his decision-making." 

If POST removes his certification as a law enforcement officer, he would no longer be capable of enforcing state law, Jones said. "It just really sort of shakes the foundations of the leadership there in the Union County Sheriff’s Department," he said.