SC officers accused of misconduct could have more say (Audio)

If a South Carolina police officer is accused of misconduct and terminated, he or she loses his or her certification. Once that officer re-applies with another agency, that agency will ask for a pre-employment review. South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy Director Hubert Harrell says they normally tell the agency why the officer was terminated. However- “The officer usually will appeal it. If they think that they were done wrong when they were terminated, they will appeal my decision. Currently, we put it before a review panel, but that’s a costly incidence when we do that. We have to pay a court reporter and all that. My question when I talked with a group of chiefs what that when these guys appeal, I want to be fair to everybody,” says Harrell.
So, Harrell wants to give the officers a fair say.
“I don’t want to misuse the officer or take his career if what they said to us or the information they provided us wasn’t true. So, I am going to propose to the training council that we offer the officer the opportunity to take a polygraph,” says Harrell.
Harrell says the polygraph, or lie detector test, is just another precaution the academy is taking to secure fairness.
“If he passes the polygraph, or if he gives satisfactory answers to the polygraph we will then use that in his appeal process for him, telling the board this person has taken the polygraph and we found that polygraph to show that he had no deception, that he was telling the truth. Then, that gives them a little more something to go on. Right now we have the word of the agency and the word of the officer,” says Harrell.
Harrell says he bases his decision off of what is heard from both sides, the officer and the chief, but he has to make a fair decision.
“I don’t want anybody to lose their career because I’ve been in this business for a while. I’ve seen people who might just upset the chief a little bit, or maybe just not a good worker. Well, they’ll send the paperwork in saying he was fired for misconduct. Well, that puts a whole different connotation on it for us on that officer’s career. Whether saying he was just fired, he was fired for misconduct, which means he can’t get his certification back,” says Harrell.
(Harrell’s comments, MP3 2:49)