A state law enforcement-regulating agency has placed Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill’s certification on probation for two years in response to his accidental shooting of a female friend two years ago.
The decision by the Georgia Peace Officers Standard and Training Council comes seven months after Hill pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless conduct in the May 3, 2015 shooting of Gwenevere McCord at a Gwinnett County model home where she worked at the time. Hill essentially walked away without a criminal record in that case using the state’s First Offender Act.
The ruling, which occurred during POST’s quarterly meeting March 8, was made based on Hill’s criminal arrest in connection with the shooting, POST spokesman Ryan Powell said Monday.
Efforts to reach Hill and his attorney Mike Puglise were unsuccessful Monday.
Hill has 30 days to appeal the POST decision, spokesman Ryan Powell says. If he doesn’t, the certification probation “will be the final sanction.” If he appeals, a hearing would be held to determine if the two-year probation is appropriate or another means of sanction were more appropiate, Powell said.
The POST decision means that Hill can not be arrested or have any disciplinary action imposed against him during the next two years, Powell said. It will not impact his duties as sheriff or the county, Powell added.
“He’ll still be able to continue as sheriff and carry a gun,” Powell said. He also will still have arrest powers. It also means he’ll be required to take new courses on firearms training and ethics.
Powell said he was “not sure of the last time we’ve placed a sheriff’s certification on probation but we’ve revoked a few.”
The shooting wasn’t the first brush with the law for Hill, a certified officer since 1992.
In July 2013, a Clayton jury acquitted Hill on two dozen racketeering charges stemming from his first term in office, 2004-2008. Prosecutors charged Hill with stealing from taxpayers by using his county issued credit card, county cars and the county gas pump to take a series of personal, romantic trips in 2008 to the Georgia mountains and the South Carolina coast.
The county’s top government official said he knew POST would take some kind of action.
“I respect the POST council’s decision if they deemed it necessary to suspend his certification,”said Clayton Commission Chairman Jeff Turner, a former police chief of Clayton.
The agency’s decision comes nearly two years after the shooting. McCord was shot as Hill reportedly showed her “police tactics.” McCord had numerous surgeries and other procedures. She lost a kidney, spleen and part of her large intestine as a result of the shooting, her father said previously. McCord, her family and Hill maintain that the shooting was an accident.
POST is the regulatory agency for licensing Georgia’s law enforcement officers. The council consists of sheriffs, police chiefs, mayors, and members of city councils from around the state.
Georgia currently has about 58,000 actively working peace officers.