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Missouri Sheriff Fires Deputy Running Against Him

July 28, 2011  | 

A St. Louis (Mo.) Sheriff's deputy was fired, after Sheriff James Murphy saw a business card identifying him as a candidate for the city sheriff's agency.

Deputy Vernon Betts received a letter dated July 6 stating that Betts was fired for violating a procedural order.

That order states, "Deputies shall not file for, campaign for or hold any elected public office while an employee of the Sheriff of the City of St. Louis."

Source: St. Louis American

Comments (16)

Displaying 1 - 16 of 16

Mike Hagen @ 7/28/2011 12:31 PM

This isn't right. Some States have laws about "holding" more than one public office, but this is ridiculousness. Who better to run for office of the Sheriff than a current LEO? Sounds to me like he is trying to cut down on the competition.

tim @ 7/28/2011 3:59 PM

Are you serious this sounds like this so called sheriff murphy is scared, thats why he doesnt want any one to run from his department. I have never heard any like this in my life i think he should run for sheriff . Any body should be able to run for any office this is what you called intimidation i am glad he did not back down, and vernon betts is still running for the job he has my vote.

Brandon @ 7/28/2011 6:15 PM

B.S. I don't feel sorry for the fired deputy. We, as deputies, are given a huge book OF ORDERS TO read and FOLLOW during initial training. My orders are clear on this issue... If I, a deputy who is appointed by an elected official, wishes to run for that particular office, I MUST FIRST RESIGN MY POSITION. I'm pretty sure those orders are the same around the country. Do you people not get it??? The whole point is so the department CONTINUES TO FUNCTION EFFECIENTLY, and IN THE BEST INTEREST OF YOU!!! THE PUBLIC!!!!! FOR YOUR SAFETY, OFFICER SAFETY, not for the best interest of the people running for a job ....

Tom @ 7/28/2011 7:06 PM

This does not bode well for the Sheriff's political future.

Andy @ 7/28/2011 8:18 PM

Running for elected office while active in law enforcement often triggers a violation of the Hatch Act. Although this article sounds makes it sound like retaliation, it may be due to potential liability under the Hatch Act.

Czar James @ 7/28/2011 8:37 PM

St. Louis CITY Sheriff's do not do law enforcement. They are strickly process servers. That agency has always been a hot bed for nonsense.

Rick @ 7/28/2011 9:38 PM

As Law Enforcement Officers in California, we have to deal with a lot of Political Correctness. One thing we are very grateful for is Section 3300 of The Government Code "Peace Officer Bill of Rights". We have protections against tyranical, Egotistical B***ards like James Murphy. In California, most Sheriff's are active members of the Department they are elected to serve. If Deputy Bett's has a website I would donate to his election campaign. Good Luck Bett's..

M.Conner @ 7/29/2011 5:01 AM

They way I look at it, he did the deputy a favor. Now the deputy can run for sheriff and use the unjust firing as part of his campaign.
He will definitely win, BAD MOVE ON THE SHERIFF!!!

Hank @ 7/29/2011 8:44 AM

Really tacky there, Sheriff, really tacky.

Greg @ 7/29/2011 3:45 PM

Par for the course. Its standard procedure to keep the competition limited

Rich @ 7/29/2011 7:55 PM

Just because the department made that policy doesn't make it legal. Hopefully the deputy will seek a lawsuit.

dingo3497 @ 7/30/2011 8:23 AM

The sheriff found a business card expressing the interest of the deputy to run for office. Sounds like a very funny firing.

Maleman @ 7/31/2011 5:11 PM

I don't believe that the "procedural order" would withstand a court test, as it chills public employees from running for political office, in that they have to quit their jobs to do so. If they lose, what then? Running for elected office is a Constitutional Right. In any event, the Sheriff "shot himself in the foot."

Vernon Betts @ 8/1/2011 3:54 PM

There are no state statues, city ordinances or any rules in the Sheriffs handbook the prohibits running for Sheriff in City of St. Louis. Other deputies have ran before while still employed. The Sheriff pulled this order out of thin air. This will not keep me from running for Sheriff. Thanks to those with positive comments.

Richard Sprandel @ 7/3/2012 5:29 PM

My dog Pilgrim and just met Mr. Betts at our house. I was not aware of the mess at the sheriff's dept. before reading about this online and talking to him. Good for him! Let's preserve our constitutional rights against despotism. Freedom is not free. Independence Day is tomorrow, and should be every day.

Randy Patrick @ 1/29/2015 1:24 PM

Mr. Betts, I feel your pain brother, I too am running for sheriff in Mississippi and is rumored that once I qualify ill be fired. Under Mississippi law we're a fire a will state. But serving with this department for 15 years and been through 4 terms its not right at all especially when he gave me permission to run cause he wasn't running. Good Luck my brother, stay strong and stay in the fight

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