JONESBORO — Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill’s Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification has been placed on two-year probation following a decision by the POST Council.
The probation does not require Hill to relinquish his position, but it does require him to undergo additional training in order to become re-certified. POST officials confirmed Hill’s probationary period Monday.
The POST Council is a law enforcement regulatory organization consisting of state-appointed officials and sets the standards for training and certification for Georgia officers. Hill holds two certifications from the agency, as a basic law enforcement officer and general instructor.
The council decided March 8 to place Hill’s certification on probation on a recommendation from the POST Probable Cause Committee. The committee was assigned to look into Hill’s May 2015 arrest for accidentally shooting a woman at a Gwinnett County model home while “teaching the woman to protect herself,” according to records the Clayton News obtained from POST in response to an open records request.
The woman, Jonesboro real estate agent Gwenevere McCord, was shot in the abdomen and seriously injured. When she regained consciousness, she reportedly told police investigators that Hill “was teaching her how to protect herself since she worked in the model home by herself,” the POST record shows. Hill had taken a class on how to clear a room the month prior to the accidental shooting and was walking McCord through the training exercise.
McCord also told investigators that she believed Hill would “never harm her intentionally.”
Hill reportedly thought he shot at McCord with a weapon commonly used in weapons drills, known as a “blue gun,” according to the committee. A blue gun, a small semi-automatic pistol and a Glock .40 caliber handgun were recovered from the home.
“It was later learned the smaller semi-automatic pistol had the firing pin removed, and it was used for training,” the committee stated in their findings of fact.
Two other individuals also claimed they had completed room clearing and tactical drills around the time of the shooting, utilizing a blue gun and a semi-automatic pistol with the firing pin removed.
Hill was indicted by a Gwinnett County grand jury in November 2015 on one count of reckless conduct. As a first offender, Hill pleaded no contest to the charge and was sentenced to 12 months probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
The committee found that Hill’s actions warranted discipline, citing Georgia code that indicated Hill’s actions were “unprofessional,” violated state law and were “indicative of bad moral character or untrustworthiness.”
In addition to the probationary period, the POST council decided that Hill should be publicly reprimanded and required him to attend an Ethics and Professionalism course and a Use of Force course within six months, both at Hill’s personal expense.