Houston County detention officer resigns

bpurser@macon.comMarch 7, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- A Houston County detention officer has resigned rather than challenge disciplinary action.

Former Houston County sheriff’s Lt. John James, 40, a shift commander at the jail, was suspended without pay pending termination for an incident Feb. 2 in which he is accused of firing an airsoft pellet gun near inmates who were on work detail taking out trash from the jail, Chief Deputy Billy Rape said. Rape said James resigned rather than appeal the suspension.

James, who had been with the sheriff’s office since March 2007, apparently was joking around, but such conduct is inappropriate for a detention officer, Rape said.

The pellets hit a metal door of the jail, with the sound frightening the two nearby inmates, Rape said. The inmates were not hurt, and the door was not damaged, he said.

Two other detention officers were disciplined for failing to report James’ actions.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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