• Sheriff's deputy accused of letting inmate use her cell phone

    By: Tony Thomas

    Updated:

    GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A Gwinnett County Sheriff's deputy is under arrest, accused of letting an inmate use her cellphone.

    Natalie Crawford was a guard at the Gwinnett County jail.

    Crawford is being held at the same jail she works, charged with two felonies.

    Investigators said additional charges are pending.

    Investigators said Crawford also had a loaded firearm inside the secured area of the jail, which is against state law.


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    In warrants obtained by Channel 2 Gwinnett County Bureau Chief Tony Thomas, investigators within the sheriff's office said Crawford gave her personal cellphone to an inmate last Thursday, and then "the inmate used the said cell phone to send a text message to a cell phone assigned to the Investigative Services Unit."

    Within the department, whether the inmate was trying to send in a tip or out Crawford's actions is unclear.

    "We really feel like the Gwinnett Sheriff is just trying to use this as political to make it seem like he's doing something," Crawford's husband, Corey Paulk, told Thomas.

    Crawford's husband and daughter said she's been with the county for more than a year.

    "I don't think she handed her phone to anyone. She wouldn't do anything like that," he said

    Now that she is in custody, Crawford had some of the same questions many other inmates have at their first court appearance. 

    "I'm just trying to figure out when I can make a telephone (call). I didn't know I had a lawyer, I just need to make arrangements," she told the judge.

    Crawford is held without bond. 

    After the husband's statement, the department's spokesperson sent Channel 2 Action News the following statement:

    "Sheriff Conway has a longstanding history of investigating any allegations of misconduct by his staff and taking appropriate action. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of our staff find no difficulty with following the rules and appreciate the sheriff’s efforts to weed out those who don’t."

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