A former Columbia County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) detention officer was arrested in Illinois after he fled the state during an investigation.
According to a CCSO press release, Clayton Pyle, 37, was arrested on a local warrant in Illinois after he was placed on administrative leave during a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation that started in February.
Pyle was suspected of introducing contraband into the Columbia County Detention Facility and, when the allegations were confirmed, he was placed on administrative leave. Pyle then fled the state and his employment was terminated.
Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter requested FDLE to conduct the criminal investigation to ensure impartiality, according to the release. With the criminal investigation finished, an administrative investigation will be completed in accordance with Florida statutes and agency policy.
“I am firmly committed to holding our employees to the highest ethical standard,” Hunter said in a statement. “Our profession relies heavily on trust, and I will not tolerate this type of conduct. We will do whatever it takes to ensure we are holding ourselves accountable. This individual thought he could avoid consequences by moving away. All he achieved was delaying the inevitable. I want to thank FDLE for partnering with us to bring this individual to justice.”
At Hunter’s request, Pyle was extradited back to Florida and booked into the Columbia County Detention Facility with a $105,000 bond. He was then transferred to a neighboring facility.