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Posted November 11, 2012 | comments 24 Comments

Officials: Deputies resign, hunting incident under investigation

By Joe Beck

Three Warren County deputies resigned Monday over accusations involving a deer-hunting incident under investigation by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, law enforcement officials said Saturday.

Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron identified the three as deputies Brad Pugh, Eric Ramey and Mike Robinson.

"They do not work for my office, effective Monday morning," McEathron said.

McEathron would not comment on the alleged incident, but Front Royal Police Chief Norman Shiflett said it involved allegations of deer hunting in town limits.

The town code requires sportsmen to receive specific permission from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries under a management plan adopted by the agency and the town for the hunting of deer.
Shiflett said the alleged offenses came to the attention of Front Royal Police Capt. R. Clint Keller, who called investigators in the department. Shiflett said the three deputies might have been hunting near Keller's home.

"We turned it over to the gaming department" to avoid any conflicts of interest in the handling of the investigation, Shiflett said.

"We didn't want to show any favorites. That's why we went that way," he added.

McEathron said all three were off duty at the time of the incident.

"We received a report the town had a complaint, and we worked it from that point internally," McEathron said.

He said he did not ask the deputies to resign or give them an ultimatum, but added: "I think they knew it was best to resign."

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com


    I think someone should look up the meaning of ultimatum.

    My money is on the fact they were given an ultimatum. Why else would McEathron mention they weren't given one, unless they were!

    Of course they would have been given an ultimatum, they most likely resigned because they knew that was coming. "if you cant do the time don't do the crime". Surely they knew what they were doing was illegal. What a shame to throw your career down the toilet over hunting a deer.

    The sheriff says "he" didn't ask for the resignations or give an ultimatum. Of course he didn't, that's what the chain of command is for. Remember, plausible deniability.

    So, do these deputies who considered themselves above the law not get prosecuted because they resigned?
    Here in the real world they would still face a judge. This way the department avoids further embarrassment.

    Wow! Since they resigned, were they guilty until proven innocent? Would they resign if they were facing charges they weren't guilty of? Does "under investigation" mean charges may still be brought? More questions than answers but it's early in the investigation unless the incident gets swept under the rug because they resigned or because they were law enforcement.
    For three deputies to lose their jobs over illegal deer hunting pretty much makes them Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest.

    This is stupid to fire someone of a hunting incident. Big deal....now the taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill for hiring and training new officers. Come on, they were selling drugs, or anything serious. So they got too close to the city limit. Big deal.

      So what laws do you suggest it be okay to for a law enforcement officer to break? Who decides what is "serious" and what is not? The department of game and inland fisheries considers it serious. Law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard, hence the whole "sworn position" thing. They knew better but didnt think they would get caught. Also, it wasnt "close to city limit" it was in town limits.

      did you not read it correctly? They weren't fired. They chose to resign. Resigning is basically quitting your job. When you have a salary job you can't just quit. You have to resign your position. So, no they were not fired. They chose to quit because they knew that they broke the law and wanted to do the right thing. You may want to re read the story.

        I don't think for one minute that these guys resigned because they wanted to do the right thing. As sworn officers of the law they knew what they were doing was illegal just as any citizen would have. They just didn't give any serious consideration to the consequences of their actions or they thought for some reason there wouldn't be any. I would say they quit in hopes of no disciplinary action by their department. It still doesn't mean they get off without DGIF charging them.

    Were not selling drugs...

    "Three Warren County deputies resigned Monday over accusations involving a deer-hunting incident under investigation by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, law enforcement officials said Saturday."
    How did law enforcement officials comment about something on Saturday that didn't happen until Monday?

    Taking bets on the first 3 guests of McEathron's Tri-County pen. Who wants to throw the first names in the pot?

    I'm hoping these fellows have some good tenderloin, deer bologni, or deer scrapple in there freezers!

    I'd be happy with some deer roast in my freezer of late.

    the big question is, will these guys be able to work in law enforcement again?

    IMHO they should be barred from doing so.

      Very doubtful they would get hired in law enforcement ever again unless its in a "security guard" capacity. People are talking about whether or not they will be prosecuted, I dont know but I'd be willing to bet losing their jobs will sting the most.

    On Friday night I saw a 3 or 4 point buck running through downtown Front Royal. Later I heard about 4 possible gunshots, but I didn't think too much of it or make the connection until just now...

    Having a badge in law enforcement does not give anyone the right to break the Law....These men were hunting within town limits....that's a big NO NO ....What if your Child or pet was within their cross hairs.??..............the comments would be a lot different. These men knew they broke the law, and resigned..that's the protocol for salaried employees.....The accused can clean up their acts and make amends if they wish to continue serving JUSTICE in law enforcement....Men and women Take an oath to serve and protect its citizens.....these men crossed the line................shame shame shame on you ...

    Not to seem too critical of the sheriff department, but when folks shoot out by are house they are slow to respond if at all. Wish some important official lived by me. Maybe are rouge hunters would get apprehended. It is who u know.

    The consequences were far too harsh. If this were a first offense, a reprimand would have sufficed. Need to look into the motives of snitch Keller. More to the story than reported. Review warranted by BoS.

      Oh, do tell poochie! What secret motive is at work here? The one that requires an officer to further investigate a potential violation of law? Lets just call this what it is. 3 guys got buck fever and did something stupid. Many have done so and the ones that got caught have paid the price. They got caught. They gambled, lost and now have to face the consequences. It doesn't make them evil or a blite in society; however, it does make them equal and accountable. It's as simple as that.

    Poochie, you are something,, to think that there is a conspiracy is outlandish. Thank you Sword for the facts.. Now lets look at why these fellows did what they did.. Did they think they were above the law? Did their former employer give tacit approval to violations of law? What was the hiring procedures used when these fellows were hired? Why would they think that they could get away with violating the law? Or is this the product of the "Good old Boy hiring process? The tax payers of this county should be asking these questions. Three Deputies lost how much is this going to cost the taxpayer?

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