Former deputy police chief ordered 53 cases closed without investigation, report says

The Notice of Separation filed for former Horry County Deputy Police Chief Maurice D. Jones.
The Notice of Separation filed for former Horry County Deputy Police Chief Maurice D. Jones.

Former Horry County Deputy Police Chief Maurice D. Jones resigned from the department amid allegations of misconduct for ordering that dozens of cases be dropped without investigation, according to the state Criminal Justice Academy.

Jones retired on July 1 after 34 years of service. Documents from the state agency shows the former officer was notified July 31 that misconduct complaints have been filed by his former agency.

Police agencies must file a change in status notice with the law enforcement academy when officers retire or are dismissed.

According to the notification filed on Jones, the former deputy chief “ordered an employee with the Horry County Police Department to administratively close 53 open cases without any type of investigation.”

“When Deputy Chief Jones was asked about this by (internal affairs), Deputy Chief Jones said he never ordered that to be done. Through the (internal affairs) investigation it was determined that Deputy Chief Jones was being dishonest and untruthful,” the notice of separation said.

Jimmy Richardson, 15th Circuit Solicitor, said he was not aware of the allegations and says his office has not been asked to prosecute the former deputy chief.

“Something may come in the future, but today was the first I’ve heard of it,” Richardson said. “It could very well be they found it was not criminal, but of course worthy of laying him off or having (him) resign.”

The allegations will only be reviewed by the academy if Jones seeks future employment as a law enforcement officer in South Carolina.

“Deputy Chief Jones was not in charge of those four officers when they were indicted,” said Horry County Police Chief Joseph Hill.

The cases in question were sent to SLED as part of their investigation into alleged misconduct among officers before Hill took the helm at the department last fall.

Hill reopened the cases after the SLED investigation revealed evidence later used to indict former officers Allen Large, Todd Cox, Darryl Williams and Lucas Green on charges of misconduct in office.

Prior to Hill’s arrival and Jones’ promotion to deputy chief, the cases were administratively closed, which Hill said typically means there are no further leads to follow in an investigation.

“When I got word that those cases were basically in suspension under ‘administratively closed’ (status),” Hill said, he reopened them and assigned their review to two homicide detectives.

“I need to be able to sleep at night and I just need to be sure,” he said. “We’re making sure we cover all those bases for the citizens out there.”

The review process continues with the cases as detectives contact victims and witnesses in search of any new leads.

But, Hill said, former Deputy Chief Jones “had nothing to do with those original cases.”

“He was promoted to the deputy chief position over that unit after the discipline had came down on those officers,” Hill said.

“We take this very seriously. We’re actively going through these cases,” Hill said. “We have protocols and safeguards in place so what happened with those officers will never happen again.”

Jones was not terminated, but he resigned for reasons “involving misconduct,” the status report said.

However, the police department announced at the time that Jones was retiring.

Jones was the third deputy chief to leave the police department in just over a year.

Former deputy chief Kelvin Waites left the department last June to take the top cop job in Georgetown, while former deputy chief Scott Rutherford announced his retirement soon after former police chief Saundra Rhodes stepped down May 6, 2016.

Audrey Hudson: 843-444-1765, @AudreyHudson