Victor Hill: Sheriff without a gun


The process is underway to find 12 people and some alternates to decide if Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill is innocent or guilty.

Hill is accused of running the sheriff's office like a criminal enterprise during his first term in office from 2004 to 2008.

He is also accused of funneling campaign funds to his personal account after he lost the election in 2008.

Hill continues to maintain his innocence. He said the charges were politically motivated and trumped up by his predecessor, former Sheriff Kem Kimbrough.

Hill's peace officer certification was suspended after he was indicted in 2012, but that did not stop Clayton County voters from re-electing him.

"This is a rare, rare thing," said Ken Vance.

Vance is director of the Georgia Peace Officer Standards & Training Council, or POST. It is the agency that certifies police officers.

"The law says a sheriff is the top law enforcement officer in the county. By law, a law enforcement officer is defined under law to make arrests, wear a badge and carry a gun," said Vance. "Because of that suspension, Hill is not capable, by law, of performing all those functions of a law enforcement officer."

But that law is not keeping Hill out of office. A judge said he can stay and the governor said state law keeps him from getting involved.

"I don't think the formulators of this law initially, in their wildest imagination, envisioned a scenario such as what we have here. I don't think they could have," said Vance.

Hill is the sheriff but he can't make an arrest or carry a gun. Hill's current status is somewhat similar to that of the 1960's sitcom character Sheriff Andy Griffith.

"In no way, shape, form or fashion would I compare Victor Hill to Andy Griffith gun carrying or not," said Vance. "The only similarity is that Hill can't carry a gun. As long as his certification is suspended, he cannot strap on a gun and perform the duties of a law enforcement officer."

Vance said POST is watching the outcome of Hill's criminal trial. His suspension will be lifted if Hill is acquitted but POST will still conduct an investigation and could still revoke Hill's certification.

"POST looks at the actions that got you to the courthouse to start with," said Vance.

Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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