OUR VIEW: Theft arrest tough look for TCSO

Published 9:30 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

On Tuesday, it was reported that a former detention officer with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office was arrested after allegedly taking money from inmate’s accounts.

Douglas Robert Meserole was charged with two counts of theft by taking by a fiduciary, a felony. He had been assigned as the store call officer in charge of inmate funds and commissary and allegedly stole $2800. A press release from the sheriff’s office announcing the arrest said two former inmates had come forward to let TCSO know that their federal stimulus checks had been deposited by TCSO.

Meserole’s guilt will be determined in a court of law, but at this point the evidence points to something egregious taking place.

Sheriff’s office employees are meant to uphold the law, to set the example others should follow. Regardless of what happened in this incident, it’s clear something fell through the cracks as money was stolen.

The sheriff’s office found the money in a routine audit after Meserole left the position.

The investigation determined that the money was added to inmate accounts after they were released from the jail and funds were later deposited on pre-paid debit cards issued to inmates.

First, we’re glad that the processes are in place to be able to find this sort of issue once someone in charge of handling money leaves the position. Between the routine audit and the two inmates stepping forward, the discrepancy was found.

The sheriff’s office should tighten the process, if possible, to ensure this sort of issue doesn’t happen again.

And although this isn’t a good look for law enforcement, it also shouldn’t reflect on everyone who works for the sheriff’s office.

Just like in the offices you work in, there’s sometimes an employee who doesn’t live up to the standards of the organization.

That appears to be what happened here, but it cannot and should not happen again, if at all possible.

Law enforcement relies on good relationships with the public in order to do its all-important job.

We put our trust in them to keep us safe and uphold the law, so it’s fair for all us to be disappointed and expect better.