YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Honesty is the difference between discipline and decertification for Virginia law enforcement.
“If you make a mistake, just admit it when we bring you in here, and we’ll work through it,” said York-Poquoson Chief Deputy Ron Montgomery.
“If you lie during the course of an official investigation, there’s nothing we can do to help you. You’re going to lose your job,” he added.
Montgomery oversees internal investigations at the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office. He said lying has always been a fireable offense at that agency — but until recently, dishonesty wasn’t a career-ender. Dishonest deputies fired from the YPSO could still work for other Virginia law enforcement agencies.
That changed in March when a new state law went into effect that added using excessive force and lying as decertifiable offenses. That means officers caught breaking those rules will be banned from policing in the Commonwealth.
BELOW: Full interview with Montgomery.
“We absolutely support the new legislation, and it’s nothing new to us,” Montgomery said. “That’s been a part of the culture of this agency for the entire four decades I’ve been here.”
As a result of the new law, more police have been decertified in Virginia in 2021 than in the two decades before. Eighty-three officers were decertified in Virginia between 1999 and 2020. Between March and October of 2021, more than 30 officers have been banned from Virginia’s law enforcement. More than half of those officers were decertified for lying during internal investigations, according to data provided by the Department of Criminal Justice Services.
One of those decertified officers was a dishonest deputy who worked at the YPSO. That deputy was decertified in May for lying during an internal investigation and being charged with domestic assault. 10 On Your Side investigators researched the deputy’s criminal history and discovered he was found not guilty of the domestic assault. For that reason, 10 On Your Side will not name the deputy in this report.
10 On Your Side investigators asked Montgomery about the deputy who was decertified. He could not comment on that specific case, but said that the deputy’s firing was part of the YPSO’s standard procedure.
“Any deputy who lied during the course of an official investigation, the answer’s yes, would absolutely have been let go,” Montgomery said.
10 On Your Side reached out to the decertified deputy, but he did not return our request for comment.