COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Muscogee County Sheriff's deputy has been released from employment for having inappropriate contact with female inmates.
An internal investigation determined that former deputy sheriff Harold Harper of Columbus became close with three female inmates after transporting them to and from the Muscogee County Jail.
"This is a very serious violation of policy," said Sheriff John Darr in a statement. "These types of relationships are strictly prohibited, and are detrimental to the safe and efficient operations of the Muscogee County Jail. Although there is no evidence of the a physical relationship between Harper and the inmates, it was determined that Harper violated numerous policies and procedures of the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office."
Sheriff Darr said the 25-year sheriff's office employee gave the inmates – who are not being named – his cell phone number and accepted calls from the inmates while they were incarcerated.
Harper also put money on an inmate's account, which allowed her to make purchases from the jail's commissary.
A Deputy Sheriff assigned to the Muscogee County Jail reported Harper to Sheriff Darr after becoming suspicious.
"I am proud that an alert deputy sheriff followed department policy and reported this activity," Darr stated.
Investigators with the sheriff's Office of Professional Standards reviewed more than 500 minutes of phone conversations between the inmate and Harper along with interviewing inmates and jail employees.
The completed investigation was reviewed by the District Attorney's Office who determined no criminal violations occurred.