By JEFF JOBE
Edmonson County Judge Executive Wil Cannon announced the resignation of the county’s animal control officer Eric Roscoe last week. The resignation was effective immediately.
Judge Cannon informed the Edmonson News that the resignation came after he and Sheriff Shane Doyle had a meeting with some citizens earlier in the week. Although Cannon felt no reason to disclose individuals in attendance, Doyle confirmed it was board members of the Edmonson County PAWS Association.
Both men stated it was essential that the county’s animal control officer have a good working relationship with theorganization and that hearing the concerns took them by complete surprise. “It was all new to me,” said Cannon. According the Sheriff Doyle, the initial meeting was with the PAWS group and from conversations with all involved we have concluded it was on Wednesday, May 17 at 3pm.
“We focused completely on the problems we were having that dealt with the job being performed by Mr. Roscoe. At no time were we discussing anything other than the needs of quick and honest communication for our community and the animal control officer,” said Tammy Alexander. Alexander is one of the board members present at the meeting and said she wanted to set the record straight because some of the initial reports circulating are not accurate and have resulted in a variety of rumors.
Alexander said there were 4 board members along with Judge Executive WiI Cannon and Sheriff Shane Doyle. “We explained that the board was consistently under fire with the community for issues relating to Roscoe and they initially did all they could do to explain, justify or plain cover for him,” she said. Alexander added “nobody was more disappointed than we were when it seemed to fall apart but when the truth becomes so plain you have no other choice but the make it known and this is why we had the meeting.”
Alexander gave examples of how Roscoe misrepresented facts to her and other board members until they came to realize what the community was saying was very likely the truth. She said they felt no other option but to voice their concerns because it was hurting everyone associated with caring for the animals and the work needed to establish a reputable shelter for them in the future. “The bottom line is all we want is to have someone with us who is honest about the process and someone we can count on,” said Alexander.
All would have been fine with Alexander and the board with Roscoe choosing to resign but what confused her was the untruths associated with the rumors and then reading it in writing on a local blog. She said, “all of the sudden, it was like we went on some witch hunt for this man because of his past and we didn’t do this at all.”
Alexander said she wants to clear up misunderstandings created by rumors about the matter. “Although we had no idea of any possible negative background for Eric Roscoe, we specifically asked Judge Wil Cannon and Sheriff Shane Doyle if a background check had been done and both men stated clearly and repeatedly there had not been one done.” When asked what makes this stand out in her mind if his background was never an issue prior to the meeting she replied, “because some of the things happening and being said just didn’t make sense and it seemed out of the ordinary for them not to do one for someone who carried a gun and drives a county vehicle.”
When the Edmonson News spoke with Cannon he said it was his understanding Sheriff Doyle ran a background check prior to the county hiring Roscoe, and again this week and he was told “nothing was found.”
Sheriff Doyle said, “I think it was August of last year when I did the initial NCIC background check on Eric and found nothing.” When asked if he was surprised to find there had been felony charge filed against Roscoe, Doyle said he was not surprised because Roscoe had shared this detail with him at the time. Doyle explained that Roscoe claimed the felonyhad been reduced to a misdemeanor and because he felt the man was honest, it meant a lot to him. He confirmed he had not shared this information with Judge Cannon or anyone because it was shared to him in confidence and the NCIC didn’t show anything.
When asked if the NCIC background check was conducted in the spelling of Eriq Roscoe or Eric Roscoe he said it was done in the name he saw on his driver’s license and military identification card which reads Eric Roscoe. A review of the social media site Facebook reveals Roscoe has a personal account with his name spelled Eriq. Doyle said the difference in spelling was explained to him as an effort by Roscoe to distinguish himself from others with the same name while serving in the military.
Doyle said he was supervising Roscoe but the responsibility for hiring or firing the animal control officer was up to the Fiscal Court. “I had no issues with Roscoe but agree with his decision to resign if the group couldn’t work with him. It is very important for us to have people who can work together for the common good.”
Cannon confirmed he was never aware of any conversation regarding any felony or misdemeanor charges until Thursday morning when former Edmonson County Sheriff’s Deputy Amanda Coniglio visited him. Cannon said Coniglio showed him a website stating Eric Roscoe had been charged with a felony crime in 2011 but there was no reference to what had been done at the time.
Coniglio provided the Edmonson News with a statement via email. Coniglio said she had two people come to her with concerns about Roscoe and while the first instance was disturbing, there was no action that could be taken. She said that after she was contacted a few months later by a second person with similar concerns, she concluded she need to let someone know about those concerns. Coniglio said she met with Cannon privately because she had no interest in bringing up the matter in a public setting and she defends her decision to speak with Cannon based on 20 years’ experience, noting that Roscoe is a county employee driving a marked patrol car, wearing a law enforcement uniform, and carrying a firearm –factors she said cause her to leave nothing to chance.
In her statement, Coniglio denied that she had any motive in bringing the matter to Cannon’s attention, noting that she spoke with Cannon only and did not make information about Roscoe public.
Roscoe said in an initial text message, “I resigned, because, I’m tired, fiscal court and I enjoyed just about a year of me trying to figure out what it would take to have a full time animal control officer, and we came up with some pretty interesting data going forward with the situation of the dog over population, and pet owner education. And as for me, it was time to concentrate on my farm, and kids being out for school.”
When asked to comment on the now disclosed past record he wrote he felt it was irresponsible journalism to ask such a question about something that happened 8 or 9 years ago and added, “Shane knows everything there is to know about me and my family.”