Improper texts cost five Johnston sheriff's employees their jobs
Posted December 13, 2011
Smithfield, N.C. — 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."