Officer Wadley in the Augusta hit-and-run has a long history of trouble
There are questions as to why the Jefferson County Police Department hired Anderson Dilliford Jr. since he had amassed a long list of terminations, suspensions and violations before starting there over the past few weeks. In fact, he made headlines last year in Reidsville for his bad behavior.
On Monday night, authorities said Dilliford was wearing plain clothes while driving his department-issued Ford Explorer in a Max Fitness parking lot on Bobby Jones Highway. That alone is objectionable, said Wadley City Manager Dwayne Flowers.
But authorities say what he did next was criminal. He crashed into an unoccupied 2022 Dodge Charger, got out, looked at the damage, then left the scene. Video from the Augusta gym shows him turning on the blue lights in an apparent attempt to get out of the parking lot as quickly as possible.
The city official says Dilliford never reported the damage and should have learned from someone else that his officer was involved in a hit-and-run. Chief Paul Jordan was out of town, so Flowers called Dilliford into the office Tuesday and saw an estimated $4,000 in damage to the patrol car. Flowers then placed the new officer on paid administrative leave.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office cited Deliford for leaving the scene of an accident and failure to maintain lane, but he was not arrested. He told deputies who tracked him down that he “didn’t know he had hit another vehicle.”
A decision on the officer’s future employment is expected as early as Wednesday, Flowers said.
“The Wadley Police Department is aware of the concerns of our community and the public,” Flowers said in a news release. “We are fully committed to providing regular updates on the progress of the internal investigation. Transparency and accountability are critical to maintaining the trust and confidence of our residents.
News investigation into Deliford’s employment record A Savannah television station last year showed that Dilliford was responsible for the problems and was simply moved from department to department. Reidsville police faulted him for making invalid traffic stops, pursuing a car without activating its lights, writing the wrong charge on some citations, and ignoring calls he was sent to, WJCL reported.
The news station discovered that Dilliford had a history of disciplinary infractions, getting fired, and then moving to another agency.
Two months before starting work for the Reidsville Police Department in 2021, Dilliford was suspended and then fired from the Walthorville Police Department, according to the television station. He had been accused of sleeping in his patrol car around the clock, putting false information in reports, falsely reporting money taken from scenes, and adding hours to his schedule.
Previously, Dilliford worked as a jailer for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, but was fired for “repeated attendance problems and making false statements.” A Liberty County official wrote that “on several occasions he failed to call in or even show up for work.”
Meanwhile, Wadley City Manager He says Monday’s hit-and-run will lead the city and police department to review the hiring process. He was informed Tuesday of the previous news investigation that exposed Dilliford’s long history of misdeeds in other law enforcement agencies.
“We should definitely recommend changes to how we do background checks of this type,” he said.
Flowers said the current officer shortage in most departments has prompted them to relax some standards, such as allowing officers to drive their patrol cars home. Dilliford lives in Augusta, but was not supposed to use his patrol car in plain clothes and on his missions.
“We understand the importance of trust between our officers and the community they serve,” Flowers said. “Rest assured, we will take every action necessary to ensure this investigation is thorough, fair and transparent. We remain committed to fulfilling our duty to protect and serve the residents of Wadley.”