HRRJ officer banned from Virginia law enforcement, accused of stealing overtime payments

Investigative

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Hampton Roads Regional Jail officer accused of stealing more than $2,000 in overtime payments has been banned from working in law enforcement in Virginia.

The Department of Criminal Justice Services decertified HRRJ Sergeant Tearsha Jones in August. DCJS lists the reasons as “fraudulent documentation” and lying during an internal affairs investigation.

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10 On Your Side has spent weeks investigating Virginia police decertified — or banned — from the force. Our investigators discovered that Jones is among more than 30 law enforcement decertified in Virginia this year in the wake of a new law that added excessive force and lying to the reasons officers must be stripped of their badges.

10 On Your Side dug into Jones’ case and discovered she’s been charged with a misdemeanor connected to her work at the jail. She was charged with obtaining money by false pretenses in September after an internal investigation at the HRRJ.

Jones is accused of stealing more than $2,000 in overtime payments. Jail officials believe she clocked in for at least 10 shifts she never actually worked between February and July, according to court records.

Jones declined to interview with 10 On Your Side through her attorney, Kurt Gilchrest. He said he looks forward to proving her innocence in court. Jones is scheduled to appear in Portsmouth General District Court on Dec. 1.

Another HRRJ officer was also decertified in August for “drug test and contraband policy violations,” according to DCJS. 10 On Your Side is not naming this officer because they are not charged with a crime in connection to their decertification.

10 On Your Side asked HRRJ Interim Superintendent Jeff Vergakis to do an on-camera interview with us about decertification, but he declined. We asked him to put the reason for his refusal into writing, but he did not respond to that request by the time of publication.

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