Johnston sheriff, DA call for probe into alleged misconduct
Posted August 13, 2009 5:43 p.m. EDT
Updated August 13, 2009 7:10 p.m. EDT
Smithfield, N.C. — The State Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina Department of Insurance are investigating allegations of misconduct in the Johnston County Jail.
Detention officers are accused of soliciting business for a handful of bail bondsmen and taking money from at least one in exchange.
The accusations come from a letter that a group of four bail bondsmen sent to Sheriff Steve Bizzell, Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle and others.
It accuses at least one bondsman of paying detention officers 1 percent of each bond client they send his way. It also claims he paid one jailer $300.
"We have gone months with little to no calls from inside the Johnston County Jail. This just doesn't seem likely when inmates have a list to choose from," the complaint states. "The other agents, along with us, have a 1 percent chance out of 50 to receive a call, but it isn't happening."
In response, Bizzell and Doyle have asked the agencies to investigate. Bondsmen are registered with the Department of Insurance.
"I am confident the investigation will clear any employee of the Johnston County Jail of any criminal misconduct and ensure the integrity of the office," Bizzell said in a statement Thursday.
Bizzell also sent a memo to his jail staff, saying such behavior was unacceptable.
"As sheriff, I will not tolerate any unlawful, unethical or unprofessional behavior of any detention officer," he wrote.