3 INVESTIGATES: Personnel files of suspended HCSO deputies reveal concerns
Channel 3 has obtained documents from the personnel files of two Hamilton County deputies who are now on paid-leave following a lawsuit claiming they violated a woman's first amendment rights.
Channel 3 has learned Deputies Daniel Wilkey and Jacob Goforth were members of the same patrol division. Both said that they'd always had a passion for law enforcement, but they had very different paths.
Accused of standing by while Wilkey baptized Shandle Marie Riley in Soddy Lake, Goforth began his career in law enforcement as a corrections officer with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office in 2015.
Evaluations from superiors during his interviewing process showed they had some doubts about his abilities.
Documents show one interviewer scored him a 1 out of 5 or "deficient" in the category of "judgment." The interviewer's notes said that Goforth stated he didn't know what "integrity" meant.
A second interviewer's notes stated they believed Goforth needed guidance but would be fine to hire.
Records showed during his time working in the jail, he improved.
Out of 42 incidents documented in his employee history, 34 dealt with response to resistance, with 33 of them concluding that he followed department policy. The incident involving Riley is under investigation by internal affairs.
Wilkey, who is accused of groping Riley and baptizing her during that February traffic stop, is the subject of two internal affairs investigations according to his employee history.
But he received high praise during his initial interviews with the sheriff's office and began his career with HCSO as a patrol deputy.
Prior to working for the sheriff's office, he was a member of the National Guard who was honorably discharged in 2015.
He began his law enforcement career working for the Rhea County Sheriff's Office in 2013.
Wilkey was also employed by the Chattanooga Police Department in 2017. He left the department not long after and told one of the interviewers with HCSO that the city police department just wasn't a good 'fit.'
Channel 3 has filed an open records request with the city of Chattanooga for information pertaining to Wilkey's time while employed with CPD.
We're waiting to hear back.
Both officers remain on paid leave pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation.