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Two officers resign from force

Calculated into the turnover rate of deputies at the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department are two officers who resigned last week in lieu of a termination hearing, which was to be set for Jan. 17.
Captain Rick Butler, a 13-year UCSD veteran and Deputy Randall Killen, a 10-year UCSD veteran, chose to resign from the sheriff’s department, according to a UCSD press release.
Both officers faced potential termination after internal investigations revealed “misconduct and inefficiency on the behalf of the officers,” a UCSD press release states.
After allegedly violating sheriff’s department operating procedures, Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said Butler, who is also a member of the Unicoi County School Board, was placed on administrative leave before he chose to resign.
“Based on the findings of the internal investigation, he was going to be put on administrative leave,” Hensley said. “At that point in time he decided to resign. The internal investigation, had he not resigned, based upon the findings, he would have been terminated. There’s no question he would have been terminated.”
Hensley said the Tennessee Highway Patrol is involved in the investigation into Butler’s violation.
“There’s another agency involved, which is the Tennessee Highway Patrol,” Hensley said. “It was brought to my attention that there was a discrepancy in an accident that one of my officers had and the Tennessee Highway Patrol had worked.”
Hensley said he’s aware of details but declined to comment based upon the District Attorney General’s office taking over the investigation.
Killen was also given the “option to resign or face a termination hearing,” the release states. Multiple events were documented that allege Killen violated the sheriff’s department operating procedures and showed “inefficiency with respect to his job duties,” according to the release.
Hensley said it is procedure for his department to conduct internal investigations if information is brought to his attention that an employee has acted against policy.
“I’ve done my part as sheriff,” Hensley said. “I have nothing to hide and the District Attorney’s office is very aware of what’s going on. We are not above the law. If I find that there is criminal activity ongoing in my department, I’m going to deal with it.”
Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Frank Rogers said a total of six officers have left the department for reasons such as better salaries and to also avoid disciplinary action since Hensley’s term began.
“Most people that have left the department have left for better paying jobs or been given the option to resign or be terminated,” Hensley said.

For the remainder of this article please see the January 22, 2013 edition of The Erwin Record.