PORT HADLOCK — Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Brasfield on Thursday suspended a deputy for five days without pay for yelling at a volunteer Little League umpire while the deputy was on duty and in uniform.
Deputy Darrin Dotson was in full duty gear, including a holstered gun, when he argued with an umpire who had called a strike against Dotson’s 10-year-old son.
The sheriff said two of the suspension days will held in abeyance, and eventually dismissed if there is no similar occurrence, as judged by Brasfield, in the next year.
Brasfield, who released a copy of his decision in a letter to Dotson, said that the deputy had violated the Sheriff’s Office’s rules of conduct.
“Although your conduct may not have been actionable had you been in civilian clothes and off duty — that was not the case,” Brasfield said.
“What would have been a brief, minor display of immaturity from a parent at a child’s sporting event was transformed into an incident that has brought public discredit upon you and the Sheriff’s Office.”
The Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation of the April 21 incident at Bob Bates Field in Port Hadlock, which is near the sheriff’s headquarters.
Brasfield met with Dotson and his union representative on Wednesday.
“I have arrived at a decision on this matter based on the contents of the investigation, your clear, truthful and straightforward acceptance of responsibility and your unblemished and exemplary work record,” Brasfield said.
The suspension begins Saturday.
Dotson was placed on administrative leave after the incident, pending the investigation.
Bob Eldridge, president of East Jefferson Little League, said Wednesday that Dotson had been barred from attending the next game his son’s team plays.
Eldridge wasn’t at the game, but he was told about the argument, he said.
“Apparently, they got into it, and apparently it went on for some time, until the umpire walked off and called the game,” Eldridge said.
Upon his return to duty, the sheriff ordered Dotson to meet with Undersheriff Tony Hernandez “for a discussion of his expectations of your future conduct.
“You have been a worthy and responsible employee of the Sheriff’s Office and it is my expectation that this will be a learning experience for you,” Brasfield said.
“I know that you regret your behavior on April 21, and that it does not represent your personal or professional standards.”