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06 May 2013

Georgia Sheriff's Association President: Victor Hill's Suspended POST Certification May Not Force Him From Office

Last week, I highlighted a technicality in state law that could allow Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill to remain in office, even though his Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) certification has been suspended.

The state law that governs the qualifications and eligibility of county sheriffs says, "No person shall be eligible to hold the office of sheriff unless such person: Is a registered peace officer as provided in Code Section 35-8-10 or is a certified peace officer as defined in Chapter 8 of Title 35. Any person who is not a registered or certified peace officer at the time such person assumes the office of sheriff shall be required to complete satisfactorily the requirements for certification as a peace officer as provided in Chapter 8 of Title 35 within six months after such person takes office; provided, however, that an extension of the time to complete such requirements may be granted by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council upon the presentation of evidence by a sheriff that he or she was unable to complete the basic training course and certification requirements due to illness, injury, military service, or other reasons deemed sufficient by such council" [O.C.G.A. § 15-16-1(c)(1)(J)].

Although his certification is currently suspended, Victor Hill still remains a certified peace officer.

Attorneys for Victor Hill argue that since his P.O.S.T. certification was simply suspended, not revoked, Victor Hill will remain in compliance with state law even if his criminal trial has not concluded after the six month period given for elected sheriffs to attain P.O.S.T. certification.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills seems to agree with Victor Hill's attorneys.

"I do think that Hill has a valid legal argument there," Sills said. "He is certified. There's no question he's a certified peace officer. ... The fact that he is suspended will not make the office vacant."

Brumback, Kate (4 May 2013). Ga. sheriff's indictment raises legal questions. WSB-TV (Atlanta). Retrieved on 6 May 2013.

I still maintain that Victor Hill is the luckiest S.O.B. in the state of Georgia.

Only a guy as lucky as Victor Hill could be indicted on multiple felony charges; win re-election; get some of the charges dropped; and keep his job while having his P.O.S.T. certification suspended.