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What a way to honor our Marines. An outstanding Sheriff Deputy was fired for having a tattoo on the inside of his forearm of praying hands and dog tags. He and his platoon lost one of their own while serving in Iraq and the entire platoon got the same tattoo in memory of the soldier. I would say the Sheriff needs to revise his tattoo policy. They hired him knowing he had the tattoo and fired him without due process after he served his probation period.

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Parkersburg News article link

Wood County deputy fired over tattoo
Natalee Seely
POSTED: April 29, 2010

PARKERSBURG – A former Wood County deputy is fighting for his job after being fired in April over a tattoo on his forearm.

Christopher Piggott, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and former Parkersburg firefighter, said the circumstances of his termination were unfair and his right to due process was violated.

“I’m not ready to give up my career in law enforcement. Being a deputy is something I’ve pursued all my life,” said 29-year-old Piggott. “This whole situation has dumbfounded a lot of people.”

Piggott received a letter of termination April 15, a little over a year after being hired by the Wood County Sheriff’s Office and 11 days after the conclusion of his year-long probationary period, he said.

The termination was over Piggott’s refusal to remove a tattoo on his right forearm depicting two praying hands cupping a Marine Corps ID tag, an image memorializing his five years of service in the armed forces and his two tours of service in Iraq.

Above the hands is the phrase “Unless you were there,” etched in ink.


In 2008, the sheriff’s office implemented a new policy restricting visible tattoos. The policy states, “Tattoos are not to be visible while wearing the summer uniform.”

During his time as a deputy sheriff, Piggott said he covered the tattoo while on duty by wrapping a fitted black band around his forearm or wearing a long-sleeved uniform.

When asked to have the tattoo removed, Piggott refused. A few days later he was terminated, found to be in violation of the rules of conduct and personal appearance, he said.

“I was terminated rather quickly, and no due process was given,” said Piggott. “I feel it was dealt with in an unprofessional way.”

Piggott declined to confirm whether he signed any documentation when hired about agreeing to have his tattoo removed within a certain time frame.

Officials with the Wood County Deputy Sheriff’s Association said the heart of the issue is the violation of the former deputy’s right to a board review before his termination.

Lt. Shawn Graham, president of the Wood County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, said once a deputy’s probationary period has ended, he should be given the right to due process. Citing West Virginia Code 7-14-C, Graham said punitive issues should be presented to a review board before action is taken.

“We feel he was fired without proper procedure. The deputy sheriff’s association held a meeting on his behalf and voted to support Chris and try to get his job back,” said Graham. “I think we are doing what is in the best interest of the citizens. To lose one of our best officers over something like this is wrong.”

The Wood County Deputy Sheriff’s Association notified Wood County Sheriff Jeff Sandy about its decision to support Piggott. Graham said the association is lobbying for his reinstatement.

“I know many of our deputies have tattoos, and I think they are more socially acceptable now. I can’t think of anyone who would be offended by a tattoo,” said Graham. “The bottom line is, Chris is a fine young man and an asset to the sheriff’s office. His heart is in law enforcement.”

Piggott and his attorney George Cosenza have sent a letter to Sandy requesting reinstatement. A pre-disciplinary hearing was scheduled for May 19, but was postponed because several witnesses were unavailable, said Cosenza.

“I think there are legitimate issues that need to be resolved, and we are just in the beginning stages. Now that the sheriff has decided on punitive action, Piggott is entitled to a pre-disciplinary hearing,” said Cosenza. “There are issues regarding how he was notified of his termination and what exactly his status is now.”

Cosenza said Piggott was sent a letter of termination that advised him of his rights, and he is exercising his right to a pre-disciplinary hearing.

“If the review board believes punitive action should not be taken, the sheriff has a right to appeal to the civil service commission, and the same goes for Piggott. Depending on the outcome, the matter could end up in circuit court,” he said. “I do not believe a deputy sheriff can be fired without a pre-disciplinary hearing, and we have not yet had that hearing.”

Sandy said he could not comment on personnel issues under the advisement of Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton.

While Piggott awaits a decision, he has been working various construction jobs.

“I’m just trying to get reinstated. I’m a little nervous about the outcome,” Piggott said. “One of the big reasons I would feel comfortable going back to the department is because I know a lot of the deputies are backing me up.”

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This is an email that I received. I had gotten it before but think it is important and well worth passing on. It is true about how soldiers die and don’t get mentioned much in the national spotlight but let a politician die and they go on an on about their life. In my opinion it was a life of lying, cheating and screwing the country because that is what most do now, but a soldier actually fought for our freedoms that a lot of politicians try to take away. We need to do more for our veterans and mourn them when they pass like the media does for the politicians
————————————————————–
Pass On The Patriotism!
YOU can make a difference
A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life,
wrote a blank check made payable to ‘Canada’ or
‘The United States’ for an amount “up to and including my life.”
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

=================================================
A Soldier died today

He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And ‘tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.

But we’ll hear his tales no longer,
For ol’ Bob has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.

He won’t be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife..
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.
He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won’t note his passing,
‘Tho a Soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?
Politicians at work
Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician’s stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.
It’s so easy to forget them,
For it is so many times
That our Bobs and Jims and Johnnys,
Went to battle, but we know,

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier–
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage
At the ending of his days..

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:
“OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,
A SOLDIER DIED TODAY.”

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