A Delaware County sheriff’s deputy has been demoted and suspended for three days after an investigation into his conduct concluded March 4.
Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin took disciplinary action Friday against Jonathan Burke, a deputy at the sheriff’s office, after Burke had been on paid administrative leave for more than seven months. Martin ordered that Burke be demoted from his position as sergeant and be suspended without pay for three days.
Details of the demotion were not specified in the disciplinary report by Martin.
On July 17, 2015, Martin sent Burke a letter, informing him that he was being placed on leave.
“A decision has been made to place you on paid administrative leave, effective July 17, 2015, as a result of our concern regarding your recent behavior,” Martin wrote in that letter. “It has been brought to our attention that you have been alleged to be drunk in public, rowdy and possibly driving after drinking.”
Martin wrote in Burke’s disciplinary action form last week that, after Martin reviewed the investigation, it had been determined that Burke had “repeatedly engaged in behavior that is unbecoming and inappropriate for a law enforcement official.”
Specifically, Martin writes that, after Burke was suspended on July 17, 2015, he attempted to use his position as a sergeant in the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office to influence an Union County Sheriff’s Office deputy while that deputy was investigating a car accident Burke’s girlfriend was involved in. Martin said that behavior goes against direct orders Burke was given when he was placed on leave.
“I expect more from members of this office,” Martin writes. “Our community holds you, as a law enforcement official, to a higher standard of professionalism, and I expect you to improve. If you do not improve, I will continue you through the progressive disciplinary process.”
This is not Burke’s first suspension in his more than a decade-long career at the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.
In May 2015, Burke was suspended for one day after he attended his son’s baseball game for 3½ hours, while on duty.
That suspension was just months after he was suspended for leaving a loaded firearm unattended on a stage at Buckeye Valley Middle School while he coached his son’s basketball team in February 2015.
“Both the February incident and the May 23 incident show Sergeant Burke displaying a disappointing inattention to his law enforcement responsibilities, an indifference to common sense rules and policies, and a failure to exercise good judgment,” Burke’s personnel file says.
Burke has a number of other notes in his disciplinary record for violations of Sheriff’s Office policy, including driving while talking on a cellphone in 2010, acting unprofessionally at a training class in 2010, backing his cruiser into a mailbox in 2008, taking a cruiser for a special-duty assignment without authorization in 2005, leaving his car in gear and letting it roll into a wall in 2005, as well as several complaints about his attitude and demeanor throughout his career.
Burke earns $77,000 annually, the sheriff’s office reports.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.