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The investigator with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, arrested in Campbell County early Sunday morning, March 27, has lost his job with the department.
Friday afternoon Sheriff Mike Brown said, following an internal investigation, Joshua Hubbard, 30, had been terminated from employment with the BCSO.
“The most difficult thing any law enforcement CEO has to do is, notify the family of one of their own who has died in the line of duty,” Brown said at the beginning of the news conference. “The next most difficult thing, I believe, is to do an internal investigation on one of their own. Neither is pleasant. However, it has to be done if we are going to maintain the respect of our citizens. And, this is what we have been involved with this past week.”
Hubbard was arrested Sunday morning at 3 a.m. for DUI, reckless driving and refusal to take a breathalyzer test. An hour later, representatives from the BCSO were notified by the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office of the incident. By 5:25 a.m. those representatives were at the scene speaking to arresting officers and picking up Hubbard’s vehicle.
Sheriff Brown was notified at 6 a.m.
“We all have choices in life; unfortunately Mr. Hubbard made the wrong one Sunday morning,” Sheriff Brown stated. “I will not tolerate this type of conduct from one of my employees. It is unacceptable.”
Hubbard had been with the department for six years, working as an investigator for the past two.
According to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller, State troopers were notified about 3:15 a.m. Sunday that a vehicle was traveling south in the northbound lanes of U.S. 29 between Lynchburg and the town of Altavista, Geller said. Two Altavista police cruisers got ahead of the speeding car and slowed down to force it to slow down. The car struck one of the cruisers in the rear passenger side.
A trooper and two Campbell County sheriff’s deputies then drove behind the car and pulled it over, Geller said.
Witnesses told police the speeding vehicle reached speeds of up to 80 mph.
Hubbard’s vehicle, which was an unmarked police car, was placed in storage at the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Brown said it had minor damage to a taillight. By 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sheriff Brown said command staff with the department determined that an internal investigation would begin as quickly as possible.
On Monday morning, Captain Mike Miller relieved Hubbard of all official duties, took possession of his sheriff’s credentials, weapons and badges and placed him on administrative leave. By 10 a.m. an internal affairs investigator had been assigned to the investigation per Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) Accreditation Standards.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Sheriff Brown said the internal affairs investigator met with witnesses and conducted interviews and on Thursday Hubbard was questioned. Command staff were briefed concerning the investigation.
On Friday morning Hubbard went before a hearing panel, per DCJS Accreditation Standards. Hubbard’s employment was terminated at 11:45 Friday morning.
Brown said that termination was based on the professional standards of the DCJS and the standards of conduct for employees, which states: “Employees shall adhere to all laws and ordinances of the County of Bedford, Commonwealth of Virginia, and the United States of America, and shall adhere to the rules and regulations of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. Employees shall not conduct themselves in any manner that reflects adversely against the Sheriff’s Office, or the position of the office they hold.”
Brown emphasized that Hubbard’s actions were those of one individual and should not reflect on “the high degree of professionalism and devotion to duty of the rest of the department.”
“They are as upset as anyone,” Sheriff Brown said of the department’s employees. “I would also like to thank the paper carrier that first noticed the erratic driving of this individual, and the professionalism and quick actions of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, the Altavista Police Department and the Virginia State Police. Their combined actions averted, I believe, a much more serious incident—serious bodily injury or death of Mr. Hubbard or an innocent bystander or driver on Route 29.”
Sheriff Brown stated employees with the BCSO are not supposed to use department vehicles for personal use.
“He was a very good investigator,” Sheriff Brown said of Hubbard. “It’s very sad.”
Sheriff Brown said as far as he knew Hubbard had not expressed regrets for the incident to department personnel. He cannot appeal the decision to terminate his employment. Hubbard was one of five investigators employed by the BCSO.
Sheriff Brown added that he did not anticipate any problems prosecuting the cases Hubbard had been working on. “Other investigators were working the cases with him,” he said. “They will be able to take the investigation on.”
Sheriff Brown said he had received a note from the chief of police in Galax, who was going through a similar issue, telling him that he wasn’t going through this alone.
“We’re human just like everybody else,” Sheriff Brown said of law enforcement employees. “We make mistakes. By virtue of our profession, we’re in the limelight.”
The incident is being investigated by the Virginia State Police.