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Deputy fired for drug use, letter says

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 1:31 PM
Last updated Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 1:32 AM
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The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office’s 2013 Deputy of the Year was fired last month after admitting to purchasing cocaine while on duty, in uniform and in a patrol vehicle “a couple dozen times,” according to his termination letter released Wednesday.

Austin Shepherd: Deputy said he purchased cocaine while on duty and in uniform.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Austin Shepherd: Deputy said he purchased cocaine while on duty and in uniform.

The sheriff’s office launched an investigation into Deputy Austin Shepherd in March 2012 after he was spotted going into the Davis Mill Road residence of known drug dealer Stephen Marquise Crawford.

Shepherd told a disciplinary review board he went into the home, which was outside of his beat, while on duty to trade video games with Crawford, who was a longtime friend, according to the letter. Then-Sheriff Ronnie Strength suspended Shepherd for 15 days and placed him on a year of probation.

After Crawford was sentenced in federal court on drug charges on Dec. 19, 2013, an investigator for the sheriff’s office interviewed him about his involvement with Shepherd.

Crawford said he met Shepherd about 2006 in Wrens, Ga., before he was in law enforcement and would sell cocaine to him “almost every day,” according to the termination letter.

After he became a sheriff’s deputy, Shepherd continued to buy cocaine from Crawford “at a minimum of once a week” while on duty and in his patrol car, Crawford told the investigator.

Crawford said that he received information about the narcotics division through their relationship and that Shepherd would trade drugs confiscated from offenders with him for cocaine.

In an interview with Maj. Scott Peebles on Dec. 30, Shepherd said he had not dealt with Crawford since October 2012 and had not used cocaine since April 2012.

Shepherd admitted to using cocaine while employed with the sheriff’s office and had bought the drug from Crawford a “couple dozen times.”

He also admitted to using cocaine during college and lying on his pre-employment application and polygraph about his drug use.

He denied, however, trading confiscated drugs with Crawford or providing sensitive information about the narcotics division, according to the letter.

Sheriff Richard Round­tree stated in a media release Wednesday that his office worked with the local FBI office to determine whether criminal charges could be pursued after Shepherd’s termination Dec. 30.

Because enough evidence wasn’t available for a prosecution, no criminal charges will be filed, Roundtree stated. Sheperd, a five-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was selected as Deputy of the Year for 2013 and recognized by 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 auto, 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.

Staff Writer Bianca Cain Johnson contributed to this article.

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InChristLove
22491
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InChristLove 01/23/14 - 12:05 pm
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Who's life has been destroyed

Who's life has been destroyed jbartley? I didn't see any mention of alcohol in this article. Are you sure you're on the right thread?

Red Headed Step Child
5624
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Red Headed Step Child 01/23/14 - 12:37 pm
4
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Holy Crap

I've never seen Holy Crap, but I have seen Holy Water. Have even made it myself a time or two - you just put water in a pot and boil the hell out of it...

GiantsAllDay
15479
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GiantsAllDay 01/23/14 - 12:45 pm
1
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lol

lol

myfather15
59642
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myfather15 01/23/14 - 02:10 pm
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This has nothing to do with my last post; but let me repost

Why would anyone give GAD's condescending, self-righteous post at 7:49pm, a thumbs up?? What was said that is so special in that post? A post full of condescending, sterotyping that I THOUGHT liberal leaning people, didn't support!! What happened to the content of an individuals character and not lumping everyone into one catetory? Very immature!!

Those that gave him the thumbs up, is that what you are as well? Do you agree with his post? Demeaing comments about people that serve? Those that agree, have probably spent a little time in the jail themselves!! But of course, they would never admit that.

Because the fact is, law enforcement is a CALLING!! It's just something inside you that pulls you too it. For those who don't believe this, it's probably because you're a shallow person without a passion for doing good in life!!

I personally know numerous men who have left the profession for more lucrative careers, only to see them coming back in 2 or three years and NOT because they weren't successful!! I once had a friend of mine start his own trucking business and was making good money. He said every time he passed a police car, he would almost cry his missed it so much. If you don't know that feeling, it's probably because you're not passionate about anything in life!!

I know of two deputies who have law degrees; but after graduating wanted to try law enforcement for a while before practicing law. They will both tell you they can't leave it!! They have a passion for it. There are doctor's who have left the profession to became officers. Check out the story about the NY City Cop who graduated Harvard with Honors!! He actually has two degrees and still chose to be a cop!!

I was told the other day that I choose my profession and the low pay that comes with it, so I shouldn't complain about the benefits!! Well, that's somewhat true; but in reality it's a calling!! Many PROFESSIONS are callings!! It's something the person felt deeply about!! Teaching, Nursing, Fireman, law enforcement. Usually, in professions like this, those that get in it because of the money, do NOT make the best!! Teachers usually don't even consider the money before getting their degree, they just know THAT is what I want to do!! Nurses are the same way!! Again, those that it IS a calling, are usually the best at the profession!! Those that get into the profession because it will make them good money, usually are NOT the best!! Passion is what's needed to be the best at what you do!! Money, CAN NOT buy passion!!

Does this make sense?

Had to soften this post a little! Some people's stomach just couldn't take it.

myfather15
59642
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myfather15 01/23/14 - 02:07 pm
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"You really don't want to go

"You really don't want to go down this road. Or do you?"

GAD's really full of himself today, huh? Do you really consider yourself that good of a debater? Here's a clue, you're not!!

GiantsAllDay
15479
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GiantsAllDay 01/23/14 - 10:46 pm
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Southern cops are the worst.

Southern cops are the worst.

willie Lee
423
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willie Lee 01/23/14 - 11:29 pm
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How many of These cops Were on Cocaine?
Unpublished

Cops have killed well over 5,000 Americans since 9/11. Many of these killings have occurred during no-knock raids, which have risen by 4000% since the 1980s.

Iraqi insurgents, by comparison, have killed around 3,500 Americans in Iraq since 9/11 in Operation Iraqi “Freedom.”

It is not just Iraq. The number of Americans killed by police also now exceeds the number of Americans killed by Afghan insurgents.

Afghan insurgents have killed around 2,000 Americans in Afghanistan since 9/11 in Operation Enduring “Freedom.”

The police are getting paid with our money to go on shooting sprees and they are killing more of us than the terrorists from whom they “protect” us.

Do not be too surprised. This data is to be expected; it naturally fits with the fact that the State uses “counter-terrorism” as a means to oppress and initiate violence against the population. In fact, you are eight times more likely to be killed by a cop than by an actual “terrorist.”

Domestic violence is two-four times more common among police families than American families in general.

As of 2010 the compared data lifted from Cato’s NPMSRP shows that the reports of police committing sexual assault amounted to more than 2 times the reports in the entire general population.

If officer-involved killings were prosecuted as murder, the murder rate for law enforcement officers would exceed the general population murder rate by at least 472%. And these are only the reported incidents. The vast majority of police misconduct and abuse is unreported. Who knows what the actual total is.

GiantsAllDay
15479
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GiantsAllDay 01/24/14 - 04:46 am
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The cops are now the

The cops are now the military. Welcome to AmeriKa

InChristLove
22491
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InChristLove 01/24/14 - 06:17 am
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Willie, here's another tidbit

Willie, here's another tidbit from the so called blog you copied your information from...."Because individual police departments are not required to submit information regarding the use of deadly force by its officers, some bloggers have taken it upon themselves to aggregate that data"

So in other words, information has been loosely collected and formed to make an interesting news article but isn't really based on hard proven facts. Isn't that what's called an opinion piece.

Willie, can you give us stats on how many of these were killed by police defending themselves, how many were killed by officers defending someone else, how many were killed while committing a robbery, kidnapping, or any type of serious crime? Unless you break the facts down you don't truly get the whole picture...but then I suppose that was your intent all along.

lifelongresident
1329
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lifelongresident 01/24/14 - 10:00 am
0
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more trayvonn martin, is it ever going to end!!!
Unpublished

this kids was on the fast track to where is is now, he wasn't just walking home, nor was he just getting "tea and skittles" instead of listening. believing, and accepting as gospel what the race pimps and hustlers feed take the time an read/research for yourself. i am not saying he deserved to die, he didn't but when you are banging someones head against concrete (for whatever reason) you, me, or anyone else will use anything and by any means necessary to defend/protect/get that person off of you. that being said, before you use the race card because that's the way you excuse any of your failings or short comings-is by blaiming others or crying "raaaaaaacicm" look at the life "st pius the trayvonn" was leading...if you would have taken the time to research him-google is a wonderful thing, you would have seen on HIS facebook page(hence before it was wiped clean) days, if not the same day he was talking to his friend trying to get some liquid codiene syrup..why?? you ask-so he can make some "lean", "purple drank", or "syzzurp"..he asked his friend if he had and codiene syrup his friend said "no" but offered him codiene tablets he turned it down because he wanted the surup to make his drink, also on his FB page you see "ole trayvonn" holding what looks to be a 9mm and in the backround on the table was the clip looking to be fully loaded..so tell us owenjef how does a 16 yr old kids come into possession of a handgun??? did he buy it??? he found it??? tell us please, i know it was all part of the "racist white man" who gave to him to set him up...i bet it was the CIA..maybe it was the white half of Obama who was behind it...oh and by the way owenjef, not that it matters but St. trayvonn the Pius" was at his father's house because he was serving yet another suspension and had a history of fighting/staging fights (compliment of his cell phone recording). so this child wasn't the angel you want to believe, so please leave this alone, if you want to fight for justice i don't see you mentioning or supporting the high school student found stuffed the mat in lowndes cnty, ga, not that is a case that needs to be looked at closely...

GiantsAllDay
15479
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GiantsAllDay 01/24/14 - 11:13 am
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Danielle Willard still lies

Danielle Willard still lies in her grave today. Utah cops murdered her. And they got off Scott free. Read the entire article and then believe me (or not) when I say the police can kill someone, lie about it and get away with it.
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56708974-78/cowley-willard-vehicle-sal...

GiantsAllDay
15479
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GiantsAllDay 01/24/14 - 11:43 am
1
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Exactly, ICL, it makes no

Exactly, ICL, it makes no sense at all. Now, getting back to the original article. Can the Augusta Chronicle, or the Richmond County Sheriff's department PLEASE list the names of people who applied and did NOT make the cut? So if a guy driving a silver and black cop car pulls me over, does his badge and gun tell me he has been put through high intensity screening?

myfather15
59642
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myfather15 01/24/14 - 02:09 pm
1
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Ok, here is what you do!!

If Willie Lee's last comment were a piece of paper, you would wad it up and throw it in the trash!!

One of two things happened; he either just made up some big numbers in his head, or he got them off some EXTREME RADICAL left wing website. Either way, the entire comment was garbage, with fake statistics!!

Willie Lee, can you site your references? Please!! Give us the knowledge. Or are we suppose to blindly believe you? Because you're so smart!!

JRC2024
15532
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JRC2024 01/24/14 - 10:30 pm
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ICL, Owensjef has always had

ICL, Owensjef has always had a chip. It probably will never go away.

ICL, a drug addic will get whatever drugs he or she needs no matter what the job is and no matter if at work or not. The desire takes over and all reasoning goes away. I know, I had several friends that were that way and all lost their jobs and all are dead now. Very very hard for someone to come back.

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