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Improper texts cost five Johnston sheriff's employees their jobs

Posted December 13, 2011

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— Four Johnston County jail employees were terminated this month after a two-week internal investigation into inappropriate texting on their personal phones, Sheriff Steve Bizzell said Tuesday. A sheriff's detective voluntarily resigned amid the probe.

Some of those employees sent inappropriate photos of themselves to other employees, Bizzell said.

The case has been handed over to the district attorney to determine if any laws were broken.

Other staff members alerted supervisors about having received inappropriate texts, prompting the sheriff's office to launch an investigation in November, Bizzell said.

He called the internal probe "very methodical."

"When you have five people being accused of these types of activities, you want to make sure you are being very fair," he said.

Detective David Hildreth resigned Dec. 5. Doug Haddox was terminated Dec. 1, Kim Batts on Dec. 2 and Cindy Brantley on Dec. 6 for conduct unbecoming of a detention officer.

Karen Massengill was fired Dec. 13 for conduct unbecoming of a detention officer and lying to investigators during the internal probe. 

Bizzell said the conduct went against the department's "very high standard of excellence."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • loving life 84 Dec 15, 2011

    who cares..it was on their personal phones. I could see if was sent to a work email.this is crazy if you ask me. This was not worth being on the news

  • onemore17 Dec 14, 2011

    oh, and let's not forget our wonderful DA. I'm sure she is going to have a field day with this and try to redeem herself.

  • onemore17 Dec 14, 2011

    "the sheriff might be though.."
    There's no doubt that he absouetly is. However, majority of the people he serves seem not to care. They choose to overlook his shortcomings and continue being fanatics for him.

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Dec 14, 2011

    "This isn't a case of racism."

    Of course this isn't. The Sheriff might be though. Dosen't mean he wasn't right to fire these goofs.

  • onemore17 Dec 14, 2011

    This isn't a case of racism. These employees personal rights were violated. It's outrageous that a "respectable" media source such as WRAL has yet to follow up on these accusations and get to the bottom of it. This would be some journalist's golden opportunity to shine and put sheriff Bizzell (and a few of his goons) iin the limelight where they belong. He should be embarrassed that this issue was handled in such a manner. It's absouetly disgusting that the truth has yet to surface. How embarrassing for Johnston county ...

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Dec 14, 2011

    "Steve Bizzell may make some harsh statements sometimes, but he speaks of what he SEES during his job. You may not like it but, as we all know, the truth hurts sometimes!"

    and in this case he is seeing, and speaking, as a racist.

  • Ezekiel c23 v19to20 Dec 14, 2011

    "Ezekiel c23 v19to20 unfortunately statistics show that is more true than not. This also pertains to other races as well."

    You've never heard that statistics lie, tewc? it also dseon't explain how the comments, as made, aren't racist.

  • not my real name Dec 14, 2011

    They all should have known better, especially being law enforcement. The bad part is that Johnston Co. needs as many cops as they can get. What were they thinking anyway? This is high school behavior and certainly not acceptable to share pics or S~E~X~T with your coworkers during work or after hours.

  • wral mods blow close my account Dec 14, 2011

    WRAL we need some follow up on this story. Because of Steve Bizzell past derogatory statements, we can't rule out that these firings are retaliation for something.

    Maybe they employees didn't call ICE fast enough on immigrants for Steve.

  • michaelclay Dec 14, 2011

    If the photos were sent on their personal phones and not department issued phones I don't see the problem. It seems that this local government is looking to closely into their employees personal life.