NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Wearing a New Hanover County Sheriff's badge means trust, loyalty and integrity, but one former deputy got caught in a lie and now some drivers are getting off easy.
When you see blue flashing lights in your rear view mirror it usually means you're breaking the law, but former New Hanover County Sheriff's Deputy Steven Gagnon was the one breaking the rules for quite some time.
"That is actually pounded in us from day one when you go to school is never, ever lie," said New Hanover County Sheriff's spokesman Jerry Brewer. "Ever. Not any time and for the 99% of deputies, who do that thing everyday, there is that 1% that can tarnish the badge sometimes."
An internal investigation concluded Gagnon was one of the few tarnishing the badge. Gagnon was clocking speeds on the county's newly purchased Golden Eagle II radar and writing traffic tickets, but he was not certified to do so.
Brewer said it was a trust issue. "I wouldn't say it fell through the cracks," he said. "I would say there's just a whole level of trust there."
Supervisors trusted Gagnon when he told them he had his certification updated. However, the records showed he wasn't. New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David is now left picking up the pieces.
"Where the guilt or innocence of someone rests solely on the credibility of the officer, who's creditability has been called into question by his own sheriff, we're going to dismiss that case in the interest of justice," said David.
As Gagnon's tickets make way to the court room most of them have and will be dismissed because the court does not consider Gagnon credible. The sheriff's office and the district attorney say it's a lesson learned for everyone.
"I'm very please I got word from Sheriff Ed McMahon," said David. "I think it underscores the close working relationship we have. From time to time, when you have hundreds of people in law enforcement you're going to have those situations arrive and I enjoy working in a court system, where agencies respect the process and each other that when this comes to light we deal with it the way we have."
Gagnon resigned from his position in October.