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Wadley Officer Involved in Augusta Hit & Run Has Long History of Trouble

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A Wadley police officer was on the job for just two weeks before he damaged a patrol car Monday in a hit & run while off-duty outside an Augusta gym, authorities said.

There are questions about why the police department in Jefferson County ever hired Anderson Deliford Jr. since he amassed a long list of terminations, suspensions and violations before starting there within the last few weeks. In fact, he made headlines last year in Reidsville for his bad behavior.

On Monday night, authorities say Deliford was in plain clothes while driving his department-issued Ford Explorer in the parking lot of Max Fitness on Bobby Jones Expressway. That alone is a no-no, Wadley City Administrator Dwayne Flowers said.

But what he did next was criminal, authorities say. He struck an unoccupied 2022 Dodge Charger, got out and looked at the damage and then left the scene. A video from the Augusta gym shows him turning on blue lights in an apparent effort to get out of the parking lot as soon as possible.

The city administrator says Deliford never reported the damage, and he had to find out from someone else that their officer had been involved in a hit & run.

Chief Paul Jordan has been out of town, so Flowers called Deliford in to the office Tuesday and saw an estimated $4,000 in damages to the patrol car. Flowers then put the new officer on administrative leave with pay.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has cited Deliford for leaving the scene of an accident and failure to maintain lane, but he was not arrested. He told deputies who tracked him down that “he did not know he struck another vehicle.”

A decision on the officer’s future employment is expected as early as Wednesday, Flowers said.

“The Wadley Police Department acknowledges the concerns of our community and the public,” Flowers said in a press release. “We are fully committed to providing regular updates on the progress of the internal investigation. Transparency and accountability are paramount in maintaining the trust and confidence of our residents.”

A news investigation into Deliford’s employment record by a Savannah TV station last year shows Deliford was a problem officer who was simply passed on from department to department. WJCL reported that Reidsville police faulted him making invalid traffic stops, chasing a car without activating his lights, writing the wrong charge on some citations, and ignoring calls that he was dispatched to.

The news station discovered that Deliford had a history of racking up disciplinary infractions, getting fired, and then moving on to another agency.

Two months before he started working at the Reidsville Police Department in 2021, Deliford was suspended and then terminated from Walthourville Police Department, according to the TV station. He had been accused of sleeping in his patrol car on the clock, putting false information in reports, misreporting money seized from scenes, and adding hours to his timesheet.

Earlier, Deliford worked as a jailer with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office but was fired for “repeated attendance issues and giving false statements.” A Liberty County administrator wrote that “on several occasions he failed to call in or even show up for work.”

Meanwhile, the Wadley city administrator says Monday’s hit & run will lead the city and police department to review their hiring process. He was made aware Tuesday of the previous news investigation that uncovered Deliford’s long history of bad acts at other law enforcement agencies.

“We definitely have to recommend changes on how we do background checks of that nature,” he said.

Flowers said the current officer shortage in most departments has led them to relax some standards, such as allowing officers to drive their patrol vehicles home. Deliford lives in Augusta, but he was not supposed to be using the patrol vehicle in plain clothes and for his errands.

“We understand the importance of trust between our officers and the community they serve,” Flowers said. “Rest assured, we will take every measure necessary to ensure this investigation is thorough, fair, and transparent. We remain dedicated to upholding our duty to protect and serve the residents of Wadley.”

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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