COVINGTON -- The complaint brought against Porterdale Police Officer Jason Cripps alleging that he divulged the WiFi password of a local restaurant without permission has been dismissed by the Newton County Sheriff's Office.
Judy Johnson, owner of the Perk Up and Wine Down Cafe, had filed a criminal complaint with the NCSO alleging theft of services in connection with the incident in which Cripps told a group of Explorers the restaurant's password.
"It has been thoroughly investigated and it was found it was unfounded," said NCSO Public Information Officer Courtney Morrison. "Our investigation and our findings were confirmed by the District Attorney's Office, as well. There was no crime committed that we were able to determine."
Morrison said the investigation showed that Cripps did divulge the password to a group of Explorers, but he did not violate the law.
"We look at it from a law aspect and there was no crime committed. Porterdale will handle any internal investigation," Morrison said.
Porterdale Police Chief Geoff Jacobs said he felt like the correct determination was made by the NCSO investigation.
"I don't feel like he was doing anything that he felt was wrong. There was no criminal intent, no malice aforethought and I'm sure the investigation revealed that," Jacobs said. "It did cause a few ripples and there was some poor judgment, and I'll deal with that on a personnel basis."
Jacobs went on to say that Officer Cripps was at the Explorers meeting off duty and devoting his personal time to the Explorers and that it was his understanding that the password had already been given out by Johnson and her daughter to several others who were at the meeting.
Johnson said the matter had been explained to her by NCSO personnel that there was no law broken.
"They were very professional and courteous, and the detective took a lot of time explaining to me why they couldn't pursue it. They did say if I can find case law to show there was a law broken, they'd be happy to revisit it, but unless he had actually gone into my computer (to retrieve the information), it was not illegal," Johnson said.
Johnson, a former Porterdale city clerk, had also filed a complaint with the Porterdale Police Department alleging that Cripps violated the department's standards of conduct by "obtaining tools (i.e. Internet) on misrepresentation; stealing property of person; and abusive conduct toward member of public."
She said she has no intention of withdrawing that complaint, but holds out very little hope that anything will be done about it.
"My firm belief, based on previous cases, is that the Porterdale Police Department will not behave ethically and this individual will not be punished," she said. "I feel extremely violated over this. I feel wronged and I feel like just because the law is gray doesn't mean that what he did was not wrong. Something needs to happen. This behavior needs to change."