Social media posts come back to haunt deputy

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Controversial social media posts have resulted in a Dutchess County deputy sheriff being removed from his assignment on the road patrol division with the possibility of further disciplinary action pending.

Deputy Ryan Griffin, who also serves as the president of the Dutchess County Deputy Sheriff’s PBA, was disciplined for posts on his personal Facebook page that were considered by a complainant to be controversial and biased.

Prior to the November election, Griffin allegedly posted a warning of an impending civil war resulting from the presidential election results.  The complaint filed with the department by a civilian through the department’s website also claims that Griffin made posts denouncing the BLM movement and City of Poughkeepsie Common Council Chair Sarah Salem.

According to Undersheriff Kirk Imperati, members of the agency’s Internal Affairs Division (IAD) were made aware of the complaint on December 1, 2020, and immediately commenced an investigation of the complaint.  Griffin was reassigned to the Fleet Management Division on the same day, eliminating Griffin from having contact with the general public.  He was also removed from two special assignments within the department as a member of the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) and range instructor.

Captain John Watterson had responded to the complainant immediately, telling the individual “Bias has no place in the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and will not be tolerated in any form.”  Undersheriff Imperati noted that the IAD completed its investigation on December 14. “The deputy’s reassignment to Fleet Maintenance is now permanent as a result of the investigation,” the undersheriff wrote. “Deputy Griffin violated our department’s social media policy and as a result, has been ordered to attend the next Procedural Justice training session (being held later this month) as well as mandatory attendance at the Implicit Bias training that will be conducted later this year.”

Imperati has met with members of leadership in the county legislature to apprise them of the complaint, investigation, and findings.  The Undersheriff told Mid-Hudson News that “The deputy faces additional disciplinary action that will be decided by Sheriff Butch Anderson.”