Chapter 5: Incredibly Poor Judgement
Good judgement is an essential part of being an effective leader and a productive Sheriff. Unfortunately, you cannot learn good judgment. It's not something you can learn from a book or experience, or be taught in the classroom. Good judgment is something you either have or you don't. It's much like black hair, blonde hair, or red hair, you either have it or you do not have. Unfortunately for us, our Sheriff displays some of the poorest judgment every opportunity he gets, and it is doing irreparable harm to the department and our community. Here are just some of the key examples of the poor judgment displayed by our Sheriff.
One of the worst examples of poor judgment that the Sheriff has displayed was the hiring of his youngest son to become a deputy sheriff. Neil Godfrey displayed extremely poor judgment, and has potentially put in jeopardy the safety of everyone of his deputies, as well as the safety of everyone in this County. He's put everyone at risk by deciding it would be a good idea to hire his own son, Brent Godfrey, as a deputy Sheriff. Family members working at the Sheriff’s Department never occurred under Sheriff Wise or Sheriff Johnson because they knew it would be a poor business decision , and would potentially put everyone's safety at risk. Here's how.
First, the Sheriff's son will never get a truthful evaluation from his training officers. The training officers will always give positive evaluations, whether they are earned or not. This puts all deputies in jeopardy, because at a moment of crisis, any deficiencies in the sheriff's son's abilities may result in a poor performance at a time of crisis. Because he is the Sheriff's son, we will never know if deficiencies exist until it is too late.
Secondly, let's suppose there's a situation like there was in Ferguson, Missouri, with an officer involved shooting. Do you really think that the Sheriff could offer an unbiased opinion involving his own son? Or suppose a citizen of Moore County complains about being mistreated by the Sheriff's son... whose side do you think the Sheriff will take?
Thirdly, this decision will result in a decline in morale among the deputies. Each time the Sheriff's son is promoted ahead of those who have more tenure, resentment will increase and morale will decline. Personnel turnover is already high at the Sheriff Department.
Unfortunately, there is a lot more to the story than just the Sheriff employing his son. State law prohibits a Sheriff from hiring his own son, unless permission is given by the County Board of Commissioners. The spirit of the law is the fact that it is just bad policy for a Sheriff to hire his own son, for reasons stated above. Not only did our Sheriff ignore this spirit of the law, he obliterated it. He went to the County Board of Commissioners and asked for permission to hire his son, which they gave without asking any questions. When asked why the board did not ask any questions, one member of the board said that they did not want to "micromanage" the Sheriff.
The problem is, the Sheriff failed to disclosed many pertinent facts concerning his son. Facts that would have kept the County Board of Commissioners from allowing the Sheriff from hiring his son. He failed to disclose that his son has a serious drinking problem, and that the problem, has been an ongoing problem for a long time. Several years ago, our Sheriff installed, with his own money, a breath lock in his son's car so that he could not drive his car while under the influence of any alcohol. He failed to disclose that his son went missing in Charlotte, and worried the Sheriff to the point that he filed a missing persons report. The Sheriff , then went in search of his own son, only to find him in a drunken stupor, at a home in Asheville
The Sheriff also failed to disclose that he took his son and put him in a treatment program for alcoholism. The picture to the left is the building, in West Hollywood, California, where his son stayed in while in rehab. He also failed to disclose, that despite treatment, his son is still an alcoholic who continues to drink.
The Sheriff also failed to disclose all the criminal citations Brent Godfrey has received for drinking acohol:
Court Case and/or Citation number: 2001CR004469- failure to comply with the license restrictions. Case dismissed at the Moore County Courthouse.
Court Case and/or Citation number:2002CR017121- possession of a malt beverage by an under aged individual. Waiver received in Pitt County
Court Case and/or Citation number:2006CR254430- driving while impaired. Guilty plea Mecklenburg County Courthouse
Court Case and/or Citation number:2006CR254430 . Civil revocation of drivers license.Court Case and/or Citation number:0625443001 driving while impaired.
Since being hired, the Sheriff's son alcoholic drinking problem has progressed to a dangerous level. On March 23, 2015, according to an administrative source, while fully intoxicated, the Sheriff's son put on his uniform, got into his patrol car, and went to work. Sensing something was wrong, one hour into his shift, a fellow deputy met the Sheriff's son and determined he was too intoxicated to work. He forced him to park his car, and then drove him home, where he took a sick day on the taxpayers nickel. Would any other deputy be allowed to get away with this kind of behavior and keep his job? The answer is no. Only the Sheriff's son can endanger his own life, his fellow deputies lives, the public's life, and still keep his job. One of the main reasons the Sheriff hired his own son, was because he knew his son would not be able to pass the vetting process at any other law enforcement agency. But hang on to your hats because we are just getting started. On another occasion, February 29, 2016, the Sheriff’s son reported, via radio, he was responding to a call about a mental patient who wanted to commit suicide. Another deputy (“Deputy B”) also responded to the call. Brent Godfrey never showed up to the call. Brent was still at home. A third deputy (“Deputy C”) responded to the call, and the mental patient was transported to the Emergency Room at the hospital. While at the hospital, deputies B and C checked on Brent’s location, via GPS tracking, and observed him traveling at 5mph down the road. When Brent entered the Emergency Room he was not wearing his gun. When deputies B and C asked Brent where his gun was, he replied that he left it at home. He was told to go get his gun. When Brent returned to the Emergency Room, deputies B and C noticed Brent acting intoxicated and had a heavy smell of alcohol on him. Deputy C escorted Brent to Deputy C’s car and administered a field breathalyzer test. Brent blew a 0.27. Deputy C administered a second field breathalyzer test. Again, Brent blew a 0.27. The legal limit to drive in North Carolina is 0.08. Brent was over three times the legal limit. The legal limit to drive in North Carolina while on duty as a deputy is 0.00.A document filed in Moore County Superior Court (click here or on the thumbnail below to view this document) sheds more light on the case. It is a written request by George Dennis, an investigator with the Moore County District Attorney's Office, seeking a judge to order the release of Verizon phone records to law enforcement officials on the night of the alleged incident.
The records that were sought included those corresponding to the cellular telephone numbers for Neil and Brent Godfrey.
A judge ordered the document sealed in March but then unsealed it in December, saying the investigation had been completed and the case now lies in the jurisdiction of the Attorney General's Office.
According to the document, the Sheriff and someone who appeared to be his wife, Linda, went to the hospital the night of the alleged incident. Neil Godfrey denies the allegation.
Dennis wrote in his report that Neil Godfrey and his son sat in a Sheriff's lieutenant's vehicle at the hospital, while the woman who appeared to be Linda Godfrey sat in a sergeant's truck for more than an hour.
Dennis also wrote that the sheriff and his deputies had access to a portable instrument that measures blood-alcohol content and that Brent Godfrey was driven away from the parking lot while another deputy later returned to remove his car.
Sheriff Godfrey took custody of his son, and no charges were filed. Deputies B and C have covered up what truly happed that night to the Special Prosecutor and his investigators as a result of intimidation from Sheriff Godfrey. Would any other deputy be allowed to get away with this kind of behavior ? The answer is no. Only the Sheriff's son can endanger his own life, his fellow deputies lives, the public's life, drive and work while impaired and escape prosecution. One of the main reasons the Sheriff hired his own son, was because he knew his son would not be able to pass the vetting process at any other law enforcement agency. But hang on to your hats because we are just getting started. Earlier in the month of February, 2016, Brent reported to the same hospital to guard a mental patient. Brent was so intoxicated, a nurse called the Sheriff Department to report the problem. Numerous sources have confirmed to me that Brent came to work numerous times too intoxicated to work, and was simply sent home to "sleep it off." After all, he's the Sheriff's son, and evidently that puts him above the law everyone else lives under.
Under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), the first 21 weeks of the Sheriff's son (Brent Godfrey) employment timecards at the Sheriff Department were obtained. The information revealed shocking results. Here are three different timecards for Brent Godfrey (Click on image to enlarge). All three time cards are for the same period of time, but all three differ as to what hours were worked on each day. The first two timecards both claim 160 total hours worked, while the third timecard claims 133 hours worked. Although not verified by a handwriting expert, the Sheriff's signatures on the first timecard appears to be forged.
We also obtained the Dispatch Log for the first 21 weeks of the Sheriff's son (Brent Godfrey) employment. The Sheriff requires all deputies who have a staff car (Brent Godfrey, unlike other new deputies, has had a patrol car since his first day of employment) to sign in with Dispatch at the beginning of every shift (or whenever they get in their car). At the end of every shift they must sign out with Dispatch. This would mean that Brent Godfrey's time cards should match the Dispatch Log. In Brent's case there are many discrepancies when it comes to hours he claimes to have worked, versus hours actually worked. Over the 21 weeks, Brent claims to have worked 966.75 hours, but the Dispatch Log said Brent only worked 661 hours. He was paid for 305.75 (that's equivalent to two months) hours that he did not work, according to the Sheriff's own numbers. I call that stealing in my book. However, these are not the only "funny numbers" we discovered.The Sheriff himself is also ripping off the taxpayer.
Under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), we also obtained the timecards for the past 18 months, for the Sheriff himself. Keep in mind that the Sheriff is on a fixed salary of $107,500 per year. Because he is on a fixed salary, the Sheriff puts on his timecard 0 hours worked. However for every Federal, State, and County holiday, the Sheriff puts 8 hours worked for every single holiday (click on the thumbnail at the right for a full view). When we asked Moore County Human Resources and the County Attorney why the 8 hours were on the timecards, they responded by saying he was paid a straight salary. No explination was given as to why the Sheriff puts 8 hours down for every holiday, but the truth finally came out.
It turns out that those "holiday" hours affect the State's Sheriff retirement fund.