Franklin County Sheriff John Grismore took office Wednesday under the cloud of investigations into allegations of excessive force and financial improprieties.
Grismore was fired from a job as a captain in the Franklin County sheriff’s department in August after video surfaced of him kicking a shackled prisoner. Last week the state police said they were investigating the finances of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and Grismore.
Grismore, who said he had no knowledge of an investigation, has defended his actions as proper when dealing with the prisoner.
Grismore declined a request for an in-person interview, but in a Tuesday email to The Associated Press, he said that after he takes office on Wednesday he will review budgets, policies, training, staffing, equipment and other issues.
“A little further down the road, I intend to explore opportunities to expand our police services throughout the county, continue the great work already started on identifying innovative and cost saving technologies, continuing the development and deployment of the Crisis Response Team, and developing our and retaining our personnel and attracting new talent to the team, to name a few,” he said.
Surveillance cameras recorded the prisoner being kicked on Aug. 7. In Vermont’s Aug. 9 primary, Grismore won the nomination of both Franklin County’s Republican and Democratic parties to have his name on the November ballot for sheriff.
After the video became public he was suspended and then fired by outgoing Franklin County Sheriff Roger Langevin.
In October Grismore was charged with simple assault after authorities say he was seen on surveillance video kicking a shackled prisoner. He pleaded not guilty. The case is pending.
After the video of the interaction with the prisoner became public the county’s Republican and Democratic parties threw their support behind a write-in candidate, but Grismore still won the November election handily.
Under Vermont law the only way to remove him from office would be through impeachment by the Legislature.
The state police investigation into the finances was begun at the request of Vermont Auditor of Accounts Doug Hoffer. He said “questionable records” were discovered during a routine audit by an independent firm.