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Douglas County Fire chief placed on leave amid investigation into hiring practices

Roderick Jolivette has been the chief of the department since January 2021.

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. — EDITORS NOTE: After this story aired, GBI found Douglas County Fire department ran an initial background check on Daymetrie Williams on June 29, 2021 - one month after he was hired by the department. The department ran a second background check nearly a year after he was hired.

Douglas County Fire/EMS said Wednesday that Chief Roderick Jolivette has been placed on administrative leave amid an investigation into hiring practices at the department.

It comes after 11Alive Investigator Kristin Crowley reported last week that the department had hired a firefighter with several run-ins with the law in his background.

Jolivette has been the chief of the department since January 2021. Daymetrie Williams was hired a few months later, in May 2021 -- even though the 39-year-old was facing charges of felony theft because of a 2019 arrest.

Williams has been considered a fugitive since January of this year for missing a court date related to that case. 

RELATED: Fugitive firefighter still getting paid, hired in Douglas County two years after alleged crime

According to the GBI, the fire department did a background check on Williams, but not until June 29, 2021 -- after he was already hired for the job. GBI said the department ran another background check on Williams nearly a year after he was hired.

An open records request also showed Williams was arrested and charged with burglary and theft out of Fulton County in 2004. The charges were dismissed in exchange for $200 restitution and community service. 

Additionally, Williams' personnel file showed he was written up twice in the span of a few months in Douglas County after being hired -- on one occasion getting a written reprimand for an "altercation with an employee" and on another probation for "unwanted leering."  

Records showed he's been on leave since November from the department but was still getting paid his $46,000 salary.

Jolivette's administrative leave will be paid, the agency said Wednesday in a statement.

That statement said:

“Douglas County Fire/EMS Chief Roderick Jolivette has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the completion of an investigation of the Department’s hiring process.

"Deputy Fire Chief, Dr. Miles Allen will be in command until further notice. We cannot provide any further comments on this personnel matter."

Last week the county provided a short statement saying the county is investigating the allegations and will take appropriate actions that are deemed necessary. 

Jolivette did not speak to 11Alive last week, but told the Douglas Sentinel he didn't know about the charge, claiming it never showed up in a background check. 

(Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect when Daymetrie Williams was first considered a fugitive. The article originally stated he had that status after his 2019 arrest and had been considered a fugitive for two years at the time of his hiring in 2021 by Douglas County Fire. He was not considered a fugitive until recently missing a court date related to that case.)


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