by: Mark Winne Updated:
JONESBORO, Ga. - When incoming Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill takes office in a matter of hours, the criminal case he faces could make for some unusual situations, like deputies who investigated him suddenly working for him.
"This is a ticklish situation, investigators potentially reporting to the man they investigated?" Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne asked outgoing Clayton County Commission Chair Eldrin Bell.
"Indeed it is," Bell responded.
Winne obtained a copy of a request dated Dec. 10 from outgoing Sheriff Kem Kimbrough saying, "The incoming sheriff has been the subject of a number of investigations; many of those investigations were conducted largely by persons on my staff."
The document said Kimbrough has offered to transfer a number of people and their equipment to the district attorney because he wants "to preserve the availability of the employees at issue for the currently pending prosecution against the incoming sheriff."
The document said the DA has agreed to accept the transfers and lists 15 people.
One of Hill's attorneys, Steve Frey, said Hill would not retaliate against any of the investigators who worked on his case.
He said Hill is innocent of the racketeering charges and other allegations against him and Frey expects a jury to agree.
Kimbrough indicated he sent the request to an attorney representing the county Board of
Commissioners, but the lawyer later told him the board had no appetite for making such a change.
Bell said while he never saw the request until Winne showed it to him, he'd hesitate before moving positions out of the sheriff's office with a new sheriff coming in.
"It would require board action," Bell said. "This can be resolved, should be resolved."
Bell said, without suggesting any ill intent on Hill's part, that the public needs assurance the investigators are protected under the rules and regulations.
Jeff Turner is the incoming commission chair, Bell's successor. Like Bell, he is a former police chief.
Winne tried to reach Hill on Monday. Since before the November election, he's been keeping a low profile.