Deputy fired after unseating sheriff stirs backlash
TYNDALL, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota sheriff’s department is being inundated with phone calls condemning a sheriff for firing a deputy who defeated him in a primary race.
The Bon Homme County sheriff’s department alerted county commissioners Thursday that the overwhelming response to the firing is affecting the agency’s ability to do its job, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan reported .
Sheriff Lenny Gramkow fired deputy Mark Maggs almost immediately after Maggs defeated him by a vote of 878-331 in Tuesday’s Republican primary. Gramkow didn’t give a reason for the firing in the termination notice, which Maggs posted on Facebook after polls closed.
Maggs will assume office in January, but the father of four is jobless for now.
Gramkow has declined to comment on the firing, saying “the action is done.”
Deputy Brian McGuire said some people are using 911 to contact the department about the move. The calls could be interfering with the department’s response to actual emergency calls, putting the public in danger, he cautioned.
The department has been has also been facing backlash on Facebook, McGuire said.
“It’s gotten so bad that we may have to take down the Facebook page,” he said. “It’s not something we want to do, because it’s a good way to put out information and receive messages from the public. But we may have to shut it down if we continue getting these messages.”
County commissioners also started receiving calls moments after the termination notice was posted on social media, said Chairman Mike Soukup.
Commissioners will meet with Gramkow and Maggs to discuss the termination next week.