By Joe Johnson
A Jackson County sheriff's official was recently fired after he was caught rummaging through the office of a political opponent.
Captain Dale Dillow, formerly commander of the Criminal Investigation Division, was dismissed for policy violations, Sheriff Janis Mangum announced Friday.
After being made aware of allegations that someone had been entering another employee’s locked office without permission, Mangum requested a third-party investigation into the matter.
According to that investigation, conducted by the Hall County Sheriff's Office, Dillow entered the locked office of Deputy Kevin McCook, the Training Director at the Sheriff’s Office, while McCook went to an agency event on Oct. 10. McCook had previously placed a camera in his office after noticing items on his desk that were moved around when he was not in his office. Video from the camera showed Dillow entering the office and looking through items on McCook’s desk, opening desk drawers and photographing paperwork.
Dillow and McCook are both announced candidates for sheriff in Jackson County. During the investigation, Dillow denied his actions were politically motivated and claimed he was looking through the calendar because he believed McCook was away from the office, while on duty. Dillow, who had no supervisory authority over McCook, never reported his suspicions to anyone. The Investigation found that McCook had been present at work performing his assigned duties.
Prior to his termination, Dillow, a 23-year employee of the agency, was demoted to the rank of deputy and placed on administrative leave on Oct. 17, pending the results of the investigation.
The investigation determined there was no criminal activity, but Dillow was guilty of policy violations that warranted dismissal.
“It’s difficult for me to make sense of why someone would risk their entire career with this petty and ridiculous conduct,” Mangum said. “It tarnishes our profession when even one of our men and women act in such an unprofessional manner. I hold my team to a high standard and there are obvious policy violations that could not go unanswered.