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Deputy told: Quit or be fired

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GREENFIELD — A sheriff’s deputy with a prior suspension on his record for coming to work with a odor of alcohol on his breath now faces termination for showing up drunk to visit a fellow officer in the hospital.

Jessy Walley, 25, was one of many officers who went to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis when word spread that a local officer had been shot in the line of duty July 27.

Patrolman Matt Fox’s brothers in blue came in force to show support for the Fortville patrolman and his family. But when Walley arrived, it was clear something was wrong, officials said.

“He was intoxicated,” Sheriff Mike Shepherd said Friday. “Took a cab from whatever bar he was at.”Shepherd said he wasn’t at the hospital when Walley, a second-shift officer who was off duty, arrived, but he soon received a call that the deputy appeared to be under the influence.

Walley had been drinking with friends when he received word that Fox had been shot several times during a traffic stop, and he decided to take a taxi to the hospital, Shepherd said.

When Walley arrived, he was short on cab fare and had a confrontation with the taxi driver. He then went into the hospital, where others noticed he was staggering and smelled of alcohol, Shepherd said.

“It apparently was obvious to people that saw him that he was intoxicated,” Shepherd said. “Several people noticed it and commented about it. I’m just not going tolerate that. He’s still representing the sheriff’s department.”

Walley was escorted from the hospital and driven home. He was not arrested.

The incident marks the second for which Walley, who joined the department in the spring of 2011, has been disciplined.

On New Year’s Day, Walley was reprimanded by superiors for not arriving to start his shift on time. He arrived for his 6 a.m. shift Jan. 1 around 7 a.m., prompting a supervisor to pull him aside to discuss why he was late.

The supervisor then smelled an odor of alcohol on Walley’s breath and asked him to take a breath test, which registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.02.

Walley did not complete his shift that day and was driven home by another officer. He was suspended for 15 days, and his take-home car privileges were suspended for 30 days.

At the time, Walley was referred for an evaluation through the department’s employee assistance program, and officials with the program determined he did not have a problem with alcohol and recommended he keep his job.

But two incidents cannot be overlooked, Shepherd said.

“If this was the only thing that he did, if he hadn’t been in trouble before, … maybe a suspension,” Shepherd said. “It was his choosing, his poor choices. I don’t want to take a chance on another one.”

When Walley was suspended in January, his probationary period – during which an officer can be fired without having a hearing before the Sheriff’s Merit Board – was extended six months.

That probationary period would have been completed in September.

Shepherd first met with Walley Tuesday to discuss the incident at the hospital. Thursday, he told Walley if he did not resign, he would be fired.

Shepherd said Walley had asked for some time to think it over. He had not resigned as of press time Friday.

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