By JEFF JOBE
In February of 2016, my friends Bill and Cathy Canty and I announced that we would be adding the Edmonson News to our Jobe family newspapers. It is a perfect fit, wedged between our flagship newspaper in Butler County, our largest in Hart County and our fastest growing in Barren.
This was the absolute smoothest transition to date and it is a template already being used as we welcome the Russell County Times Journal to our family business.
As a community publisher I have not only been trained to listen for opportunities to improve our newspaper but I will never allow myself to forget the true owners of these community papers – our readers and advertisers.
All was fine until we followed up on a lead that Sheriff Shane Doyle was managing an individual named Eriq Roscoe who was alleged to have had a felony in his past. We all knew Roscoe because Doyle had openly praised him and his 23-years of service inside the United States Navy and Doyle’s references of his service with the Navy Seals was very impressive.
My first call to Doyle was short and sweet. He said. “I didn’t hire this guy, he is paid by the county and all I do is supervise him.” When asked if he did a background check he said, “No, that would be up to Wil Cannon to do that because he works for the county.” A quick call to Judge-Executive Cannon had him telling me, “I have no idea why he would say that,” and “no, I didn’t do a background check I thought Shane did.” He then said, “I will have him do one.”
Clearly, Doyle was the reference used to hire Roscoe and Cannon was finding out as we were that there was a possible problem.
After getting off the phone I had a background check done and initially there were no hits for Eriq Roscoe. This was the spelling used in all communications we got relating to Roscoe and it was also used in news items not only in our newspaper but also several on the Sheriff’s brother’s website.
After a couple initial checks for Eriq Roscoe we found one for Eric Roscoe and sure enough this man had a domestic violence felony charge against him. Domestic issues are seldom felony rated and this one was because it had to do with a pregnant woman. Our open record request to the arresting department gave specific details of statements taken.
My second communication with Doyle was via email. Doyle was now saying he knew of the issues because Roscoe told him, and he believed it was honorable for him to be so honest. He confirmed he knew of the felony charge, but he didn’t tell Judge Cannon.
Doyle even defended him spelling his name Eriq Roscoe instead of Eric Roscoe differently just as I do Jeffrey “Jeff” Jobe. In other emails he said he did do an FBI background check and nothing showed up but couldn’t remember when he did it and has no record of it.
Doyle said he saw for himself Roscoe’s DD214 and documents showing him to be Special Forces. He later added he was working as an independent contractor with Navy Seals.
My last conversation with Sheriff Doyle on the subject was to inform him that it was my opinion that Kentucky law makes it illegal for him to drive a sheriff’s vehicle, carry a gun, and to continue training with his deputies. I also made it known that I also had information that showed Roscoe had no association what-so-ever with the Navy Seals, Special Forces and his tenure reported is far from accurate. I explained this, too, was a crime, specifically relating to the Stolen Valor Act of 2013.
Shortly thereafter Roscoe was relieved of his duties for the county, and he hasn’t been introduced as Special Forces or Navy Seal since my communications in May of 2017.
Doyle still maintains he saw the documents showing Roscoe as being Special Forces and I made it clear to both he and Roscoe if they could provide me with documents then this issue would be gone. I asked for the documents because, sadly, there is no crime in having a naive Sheriff or even having a less than truthful one. But it is a crime to possess paperwork representing a lie and any reference to Roscoe being a 23-year Special Forces, Navy Seal veteran would indeed be a lie.
We know Sheriff Doyle did a public service announcement with actual Brownsville juveniles burning and accused them of crimes for which they were never charged.
We have several examples of high speed (115 mph) chases where his deputies chase teens through the county and one recently had some air lifted to hospitals.
We know Sheriff Doyle has a Deputy who broke a window and Tased an unresponsive 14-year old in the back seat of a wrecked vehicle because of one of those high-speed chases, then refused to disclose it initially and Doyle is okay with it.
Sheriff Shane Doyle is the only Sheriff I can find in all of Kentucky that releases names of juvenile traffic offenders to the media; and his brother is the only media outlet posting them. Between these two men, they have given dozens of Edmonson County juveniles online searchable criminal histories for everything from driving a moped without a drivers’ license, to being a passenger without a helmet on the back of a motorcycle driven by another juvenile without a drivers’ license, to fender benders, and misdemeanor DUIs that will be forever be on their record even if the youth is never found guilty.
If Shane Doyle refuses to accept responsibility or the county refuses to choose another direction, we could very well continue to see the valor of our American soldiers stolen, our children seriously hurt today, and all of Edmonson County scarred for tomorrow.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his previously published commentary at www.jobeforkentucky.com