“The sheriff’s office is reviewing our policies and procedures to see what changes need to be made to ensure that this does not happen again,” Sisk said.
Sisk, speaking during a news conference Thursday afternoon, was referring to allegations that sheriff’s officers may have looked the other way during a suspected DUI involving an FBI agent.
FBI special agent Ken Hillman, who heads the Northwest Georgia Crimes Against Children Task Force, has fallen under scrutiny, following the firing of a Ringgold police sergeant in mid-February for giving Hillman a ride out of state while he was apparently intoxicated instead of arresting him.
Other alleged instances of similar behavior have come to light during the past week involving current and former employees of the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office.
“My inquiry has revealed three traffic stops involving FBI agent Hillman over the past five years, and contrary to allegations, none of them have any evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of past or present Catoosa County sheriff’s office employees,” Sisk said at the news conference.
Sisk was adamant he doesn’t approve of the actions taken by former deputy Greg Cross, now a member of the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department, who admitted allowing Hillman to call current sheriff’s detective Tim Deal for a ride home in August 2009 after he was pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving. At the time Deal was a member of the sex crimes task force under Hillman.
“I want to make if very clear that I do not condone these actions, but I do support my officers in their ability to apply discretion afforded them by the law,” Sisk said.
After Cross told Fort Oglethorpe police chief David Eubanks of his encounter with Hillman, Sisk says he asked for and received permission from Eubanks to speak with Cross about the matter.
During that conversation, Sisk said, Cross stated he never notified his superiors of the stop, never performed any field sobriety tests, and that at no time during the incident did he feel “intimidated or threatened” by agent Hillman or detective Tim Deal.
“We asked officer Cross if the decisions made (during the incident) were his and solely his, and he stated yes,” Sisk said.
Sisk said the incident occurred Aug. 8, 2009, while he was chief deputy of the office, but that he was never made aware of it.
“Detective Tim Deal has stated that he did tell his immediate supervisor, who no longer works at the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office, about this incident the next day, but it appears it never went any further than that,” Sisk said. “As chief deputy, this incident never crossed my desk, and officer Cross is no longer employed with the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office.”
Sisk also addressed allegations of other instances in which sheriff’s deputies stopped Hillman.
“Hillman was stopped for rolling through a stop sign on Oct. 29, 2012, and also for speeding on an unknown date two or three years ago,” Sisk said.
No action was taken in either stop, he said.
Sisk also addressed two recent requests from Ringgold attorney McCracken Poston to involve the GBI in an investigation of his agency.
“I met with special agent in charge Greg Ramey, who is over the Calhoun office of the GBI and district attorney Buzz Franklin,” Sisk said. “I presented to both of them all the allegations and correspondences that I have received regarding this incident, along with my findings to date. I invited either of them to give their opinion if there was anything that either of their agencies needed to investigate. Both reported that they did not see anything for their agency to investigate.”
Sisk took it a step further by saying that he has contacted the FBI regarding its current investigation surrounding Hillman.
“I contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigations agent in charge of our region and requested that if their internal investigation reveals any criminal activity that I be notified,” he said. “The agent in charge informed me that if criminal activity is uncovered, that is out of their jurisdiction. They are mandated to report it to the agency with jurisdiction.”