Deputies Say They Were Forced Out

By: Only on WVLT
Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief
By: Only on WVLT
Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief

Sevierville, Sevier County (WVLT) - Two sheriff's deputies, with a combined 16-years on the force are off the job, the sheriff says they resigned, but the two men are telling a different story.

So what happened?

Both men say it was either resign or be fired. They say they've never been accused of wrongdoing in all of their careers until the last six months where there have been repeated internal investigations that came up empty.

David Robertson and Justin Clabo are now doing construction after leaving the Sevier County Sheriff's Department doing jobs they loved.

"Had a high track record of shutting down drug dealers. That was kind of a niche. That's what I enjoy doing," says Clabo.

But both men say they were forced out of their jobs from baseless internal investigations all in the last six months.

"It made me feel like they was investigating me for something I hadn't done," former Deputy Sergeant Robertson says.

The former sergeant says he was accused of conducting an illegal search. "After they investigated they found out that we never did go in and search the guys house after I had been questioned about it twice."

Clabo was accused of taking money from a drug suspect and took a polygraph.

"I scored one hundred percent on it. He said I was telling the truth and I was glad to get my name cleared of that," says Clabo.

The failed investigations culminated to last week when he lost his job. Roberson says for years he's worked night shift so he could pick up his kids during the day.

"I feel like they changed my schedule just to force me out of the department is the way I feel," Robertson.

Clabo says he was only told he was an at-will employee. "I told them it might not matter to you but I have four children and an eight month pregnant wife at home."

Both men say there are problems in the department on the inside.

"I think the department has a problem as far as their structure of internal affairs investigations," Clabo says.

"Might ought to be some changes down at the department there, maybe with their internal affairs and investigation. Maybe they ought to investigate them," Robertson adds.

Chief Deputy Ron Seals with the Sevier County Sheriff's Department declined an on camera interview.

He says both men resigned on their own and resignation letters are in their personnel file.


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