July 25--MOULTON -- Lawrence County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Harold Knighten is on paid leave pending an investigation by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, Sheriff Gene Mitchell said.
The sheriff said he asked state authorities Tuesday to investigate Knighten based on complaints from law enforcement agencies in and outside Lawrence County and from individuals.
"It is necessary that an outside agency look into these complaints to ensure a fair and impartial investigation be done," Mitchell said.
He declined to disclose the details of the complaints, which he said he received during the past few weeks. He said laws regarding privacy prevent him from doing so.
Knighten said he couldn't comment on the accusations.
ABI agent Brad Renfroe said the investigation had not been initiated. He confirmed the sheriff requested an investigation, but declined to say when it will start or disclose details of the complaints.
Knighten has been with the department six years. The investigation involves no other Sheriff's Department employees, he said.
Knighten previously was Town Creek police chief. Current Police Chief Jerry Garrett worked under Knighten for three years as an officer.
"We worked mainly different shifts and saw each other on occasion and that's about it," Garrett said. "I may not agree with something he or another officer does.
"It may be 100 percent right; I may just have done it in a different manner. There are different paths and methods of getting the same end result."
Copyright 2012 - The Decatur Daily, Ala.