Eight Hall County Jail employees have resigned or been suspended after an internal investigation found several violations of policy and procedure related to unbecoming conduct, unsatisfactory performance of duty, sexual misconduct between the employees, and a failure to supervise.
No inmates were involved in the investigation, which began in mid-November, according to a release from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. All the employees worked the same night shift at the jail, and the county has taken action against these employees:
Deputy Randall Norton, Resigned during pre-termination hearing
Jailer Dani Colella, Resigned during pre-termination hearing
Jailer Christopher Smith, Resigned during pre-termination hearing
Deputy Daniel Harris, Suspended five days
Jailer Kingston Morris, Suspended two days
Jailer Alexis Mitchell, Resigned while under investigation
Sgt. Andrew Ondo, Resigned while under investigation
Lt. Ken Nix, Retired/Resigned
“The vast majority of the Deputies, Jailers and civilian professionals who serve in our jail work extremely hard to maintain a safe and professional environment,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a statement. “While those employees are clearly devoted to professionalism and duty, unfortunately this small group of employees was not. At the conclusion of the investigation, I took swift disciplinary action to address the matter with these few. I cannot and will not tolerate this type of behavior by our personnel. Poor choices have consequences, and as (a) result, six individuals are no longer employed and two others were suspended without pay.”
Norton, Smith, Harris, Morris, and Mitchell have two years or less of service. Ondo has served four years, Colella served 12 years and Nix served 32 years.
The Times asked for clarification on what each of the employees are accused of but did not receive any information.
“At this point, I can’t clarify any more on it,” Lt. Greg Cochran said.
Cochran said the severity of policy violation and honesty during the investigation “played a role in disciplinary action.”
The Times has filed an open records request to learn more about the investigation. Lt. Cameron Parker said the reports have not been completed and asked The Times check back in three weeks.
Nix, a supervisor at the jail, told The Times he had been due to retire Dec. 20 and decided to retire about a month early Nov. 25. He said he became aware of the misconduct on Nov. 13 and reported the activities, leading the Sheriff’s Office to open an internal investigation.
Nix said he was not involved with the sexual misconduct between employees, but he saw that his leadership was being questioned. He said he was not aware of any intent to fire him.
“It occurred on my watch. I can accept that,” he said.
He said lieutenants are aware that they can be held responsible for employees’ actions.
Nix said the misconduct involved sexual activity with employees while they were on duty, and that it appears to have been consensual.