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Posted: July 19, 2012 10:04 p.m.

Officer not charged in WiFi theft

An investigation by the Newton County Sheriff's Office into the behavior of Porterdale Police Lt. Jason Cripps' behavior regarding alleged theft of WiFi did not result in criminal charges.

Porterdale City Manager Bob Thomson, citing the NCSO's report, said Cripps would would not be charged; however, Police Chief Geoff Jacobs is still internally reviewing the personnel complaint against Cripps.

The initial complaint, made by former Porterdale City Clerk Judy Johnson, was investigated by the Newton County Sheriff's Office earlier this month, alleging that Cripps had allowed members of the Explorers program that he leads to illegally use her password protected WiFi which she provides for customers of the restaurant she now owns.

The initial report to the NCSO said that Johnson was told by her daughter that a juvenile female who is a member of the PPD's Explorers program texted her, requesting the WiFi password from the business. Shortly after 10 p.m., Johnson alleges that the juvenile texted her daughter back, saying, "We were not as sneaky as we thought we were and they have our password and that Lt. Cripps had shared it with the entire group of Explorers." She said that when they received that text, they went back to the restaurant and saw that their password protected WiFi had nine devices which were not recognized that had logged into the account. From there, she called in the NCSO.

When first contacted, Cripps and Police Chief Geoff Jacobs both declined to comment. Johnson said that Cripps had harassed her in the past.

Although Cripps and Jacobs could not be reached for comment, Johnson did say that she still felt "extremely violated."

"I am pursuing my complaint to the city on ethics and his behavior," she said. "A law enforcement officer should hold themselves to a higher standard... This individual violated my business and he violated me - in front of children he is supposed to be teaching values and morals."

According to Jacobs, although the criminal allegations were unfounded, the personnel complaint is currently under investigation by him.

"Lt. Cripps, as you know, was off duty devoting his personal time all night to the Police Explorer post along with several other adults to host a lock-in. He does this quite often and I do not believe that there was any criminal intent or malice aforethought in this incident. I will say, however, that there may be a disciplinary action taking place, as there seems to have been a slight err in judgment on the part of Lt. Cripps. However, as there was nothing of a serious nature that occurred, Lt. Cripps will most likely receive a reprimand of sorts and will not be removed from office and will not miss any workdays," said Jacobs.

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