Sheriff Joe Chapman’s 30 day suspension, which effectively began today, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, is with pay, according to state law, Walton County Board of Commission Chair Kevin Little said. Since Chapman was not convicted of any felony, the suspension is with pay.
“The Walton County Board of Commissioners has no role in the Governor’s suspension of Sheriff Chapman or whether the suspension is with or without pay as those issues are governed by state law,” Little said.
He supplied a copy of the state law that was researched by the County attorney, which states under O.C.G.A. 15-16-26, 45-5-6, that a suspension of a sheriff based on an investigation of “criminal charges, alleged misconduct in office or alleged incapacity,” is with pay unless the sheriff is convicted of a felony. Gov. Nathan Deal announced by Executive Order on Aug. 14, 2017, following an investigation, that Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman would face the 30-day suspension as a result of an incident in a bar in Florida last year. Chapman had completed a 6-month pre-trial diversion on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct that resulted in the charges being dropped.
Chief Deputy Keith Brooks was sworn in on Monday to assume the duties of Sheriff of Walton County during the period of Chapman’s suspension.