By Kathy Jefcoats
JONESBORO — Two deputies hired by embattled Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill have issues of their own, according to Georgia POST documents.
Officials with the Peace Officers Standards and Training Council released files pertaining to the certification status of Deputy Terry Lee and Chief Deputy Shon Hill.
POST Director of Operations Ryan Powell said Shon Hill's law enforcement certification is under two years' probation.
"He just can't get arrested or get into trouble in the next two years," said Powell. "He is absolutely cleared to work."
Sheriff Victor Hill hired Shon Hill, who is not related to the sheriff, as his chief deputy when he took office Jan. 1. Hill previously worked as an investigator under former Clayton County District Attorney Bob Keller, who left office in 2004.
Lee, 41, has a different situation. He was arrested Jan. 20, 2012, during an investigation of Victor Hill and fired two weeks later under former Sheriff Kem Kimbrough. Investigators allege that Lee met with Hill, while on duty, to lend him money. Lee was under investigation for not dedicating time to the sheriff's office while at work, alleged detectives.
Clayton County Solicitor General Tasha Mosley dropped the charge but POST Council voted to revoke his certification.
Powell said Lee has appealed the decision, which keeps him eligible for employment and training in law enforcement. Lee is being represented by Jonesboro attorney Keith Martin in the Jan. 3 appeal. Martin strongly denies the accusations against Lee.
"He was never untruthful in any way to the investigators," said Martin. "He simply didn't provide the answers they wanted to hear. He never engaged in conduct unbecoming a deputy sheriff or member of the office by consorting with Hill."
Martin said Lee spent 12 minutes with Hill while on duty on the day in question. The two men have been friends for about 20 years and Lee has been a vocal supporter of Hill's.
Sheriff Hill's POST certification was suspended last year when he was indicted on 37 counts exactly a year ago today. He has no arresting powers but Georgia sheriffs typically don't make arrests or seek arrest warrants. An elected sheriff without POST certification has six months to get it but even that requirement is a gray area, said one of his four defense attorneys, Steve Frey.
"It doesn't say it has to be valid certification," said Frey. "He is certified. I don't think there will be a problem at all."
Whether or not POST certification is necessary for a sheriff's deputy — or the boss — may be a question for Clayton County residents.
"These are issues I would think the constituents should be concerned about," said Powell.