UPDATE: Deputy demoted for inappropriate conduct
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (WRCB) -- A Hamilton County sheriff's deputy has been demoted, after admitting to giving alcohol to minors.
Sheriff Jim Hammond said Deputy Justin Tabor admitted to giving alcohol to two teens involved in a program at the sheriff's department.
"I could not allow him to be a deputy out there on the road, having to enforce the law when he in fact was contributing to the law being broke," Hammond said.
An internal investigation revealed that Tabor gave alcohol to the minors on one or more occasions. Sheriff Hammond said Tabor admitted to the allegations.
Some of the juveniles involved we're part of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Explorer Post. It's a program that gives kids a chance to see first hand what it's like to be a deputy. Tabor was a part of the program as a deputy, but the incident happened while he was off duty.
"Over the long history of having Explorers, this is the first time we've had a situation like this. The officers who mentor and monitor this program were certainly shocked. They were concerned and upset over it," Hammond said.
Channel 3 was told the parents of the minors involved didn't want to be a part of any criminal prosecution.
"They knew what went on. They felt like we appropriately handled it as far as I can tell at this point," Hammond said.
Channel 3 Eyewitness News reached out to Tabor, and he told us over the phone that he didn't have a comment.
Sheriff Hammond reassigned Tabor to the Hamilton County Jail. He's suspended for a month without pay, and faces a year of disciplinary probation, among other things.
When asked why Tabor wasn't fired, Sheriff Hammond responded, "I take very serious a person's ability to work. And I also take very serious, did we fail him in some way by not mentoring him enough before we allowed him to be working with the Explorers?"
The Hamilton County District Attorney decided to allow Sheriff Hammond to handle the matter internally.
Hammond said he feels the young deputy's punishment is just.