GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCSC) - Goose Creek’s newly hired police chief is facing the possibility of losing her law enforcement certification in the state of Georgia.
Documents show that Georgia’s Peace Officers Standards and Training Council recommended the revocation of Major LJ Roscoe’s certification in 2016.
The recommendation was the result of the death of a jail recruit during a training exercise.
The day after Live 5 News broke the story that Roscoe was the choice for Goose Creek’s new police chief, city council made it official.
“We had over 70 applicants for the position and I interviewed nine outstanding candidates, but even with such a deep pool, LJ stood out,” Goose Creek City Administrator Jake Broom said Tuesday night.
Something else stood out on Major Roscoe’s employment and training record that we obtained from the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.
In 2016, the council voted to revoke Roscoe’s law enforcement certification stemming from an incident three years earlier.
It first came to light following an investigation by WSB-TV in Atlanta. The station obtained photos and videos of basic jailer training for recruits in May 2013.
According to video obtained by the station and documents obtained by Live 5 News, Roscoe was one of the training officers.
The documents state that recruit George Ward was forced to wear a pink hat and shirt during the training. According to the documents, other recruits told investigators they believe jailers were trying to humiliate Ward.
And that after a mile and a half run, according to the documents, Ward tried to grab on to other recruits to keep his balance, but staff told them to let go. Ward fell to the ground and died the next day.
At first, the medical examiner ruled Ward’s death a natural death due to a pre-existing heart problem but later changed it to undetermined because of the physical demands placed on Ward.
On Wednesday, Goose Creek City Administrator Jake Broom defended Roscoe’s hiring. He released the following statement:
“Over five years ago, a Detention Officer recruit with an undetected, pre-existing heart condition passed away during training at an Academy run by Major Roscoe in DeKalb County, Georgia.
Since the event, Major Roscoe has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office and the DeKalb County Medical Examiner.
Her law enforcement certification was never revoked, she was never suspended, and her verification status has remained “cleared for employment and training” throughout her impeccable career.
I was fully aware of the situation prior to offering her the position and I remain entirely comfortable with it. I’m disappointed that this tragic event is being brought up to discredit her term as Chief before she even gets started.”
The director of operations for the Georgia Peace Standards and Training Council said Roscoe is appealing the recommendation for the revocation of her certification and that her appeal may be heard by an administrative law judge next month.
DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann also defended Roscoe’s hiring in the following statement:
“Maj. Roscoe is and always has been in good standing with the DeKalb County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office. Ma. Roscoe’s Georgia peace officer certification was never suspended or revoked. She is eligible to work and train officers in any department in the State of Georgia.
As her commander, I cannot say enough about Maj. Roscoe’s exemplary service to the citizens of DeKalb County, Georgia during her entire career with the sheriff’s office. Under her leadership, Major Roscoe has implemented a number of innovations and she has inspired hundreds of our deputies to pursue greater achievements in law enforcement. This new position is one to which she has aspired and worked diligently to merit.
“Our office will miss her dedication and commitment to public safety but we know that she will be a tremendous asset to the community of Goose Creek and its citizens.”
Roscoe is scheduled to start the chief’s job in late January.