A Richmond County deputy who was named Deputy of the Year last week has been fired.
According to a statement released Tuesday, Deputy Austin Shepherd, a five-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was terminated after information surfaced that he engaged in activities that might be considered a violation of his oath of office. Details on the violation were not released but were said to have taken place before the current administration took office.
Police said Shepherd was chosen as Deputy of the Year because of his compassion and dedication in his daily duties.
In addition to the title, he was recognized by the sheriff’s office command staff, the mayor and the Augusta Commission as county Employee of the Month in September.
The honor came after the deputy discovered a family of four on Washington Road that had been living in their vehicle for a week. A woman who suffered mental problems had taken the vehicle with her 2-year-old and left her husband and 8-year-old son behind after destroying the boy’s clothing.
After Shepherd stopped her vehicle, the woman begged him to shoot her before she was taken into custody.
Shepherd and his wife bought clothes for the 8-year-old and raised $140 through donations from fellow officers to help the family. The deputy also worked with a friend who manages a motel so the family could have a room at a reduced rate.
The 19 felony arrests that Shepherd made in 2013 were another reason for the award, police said at the award ceremony.
Shepherd also spearheaded a fundraiser to give to the employees of a car wash at Walton Way and Crawford Avenue who have befriended deputies. The fundraiser resulted in $350 being divided among the car wash employees.
As part of his award, Shepherd received a day off with pay, more than $500 in gift certificates donated by businesses, a sheriff’s office watch, a plaque and a letter from the sheriff.