Officer in Sylvania Video Was Fired by 3 Prior Agencies, POST Record Shows History of Discipline

The Sylvania Police Officer shown on video seemingly unnecessarily taking a woman to the ground in an early November incident and then misrepresenting the events in his report has a less than glowing personnel file. 

Corporal Jonathan Simpson, who was hired by the Sylvania Police Department in February 2021, has a lengthy disciplinary record with the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST), which includes three terminations, a public reprimand, POST-sanctioned probation, and a recommendation for revocation of his certification.  

His record also lists a 2019 discipline of a written reprimand for using social media (TikTok) on duty and in uniform in a marked agency vehicle using profanity ‘and other questionable behavior.’

Simpson has been employed with six agencies in the last ten years and has been terminated from three of them. 

Savannah State Department of Public Safety – 12/2/2013 – 7/31/2014

In a letter dated July 31, 2014, the SSDPS Deputy Chief wrote that Simpson’s conduct and performance was “totally unsatisfactory” and he was terminated the same day. POST records indicate he was terminated for insubordination during the probationary period of employment. 

“The officer [Simpson] refused to answer the radio when two separate supervisors attempted to raise him. This infraction was witnessed by another officer, who stood next to him and saw him look down at the radio and failed to answer. Furthermore, he lied about receiving the radio transmission. He was also subordinate when he failed to follow a directive to correct rejected reports in the Management Data Systems (MDS) program used by Savannah State University DPS to generate reports.”

On a later job application to work at Centerville PD, he was asked if he was ever ‘suspended, demoted, dismissed, or asked to resign,’ to which he wrote ‘Yes – Savannah State University because I was leaving the department.”

Tybee Island Police Department – 4/22/2014 thru 8/5/2014 

On a job application for Centerville PD, Simpson said his employment at Tybee Island PD was part-time and that he conducted traffic enforcement. In the ‘reason for leaving’ line, he wrote “was part-time for summer help.”

While POST has this recorded as a Voluntary Resignation, the Tybee Island Police Department has Simpson’s personnel file flagged as ‘terminated’ and the reason as ‘dismissal.’

Effingham County Sheriff’s Office – 7/23/2018 thru 6/17/2020

Records from the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office and his POST file denote Simpson was terminated for ‘violating agency policies related to professional image, on and off duty conduct, and conduct unbecoming a deputy or employee.’ The Sheriff’s Office said his behavior reflected poorly on the agency.

“The agency was made aware that [Simpson] had been making “racially motivated posts” on his Facebook pages. The images were viewed. Posts were made on May 27, May 29 (two posts), June 2 (two post), June 3 (four post), and June 5. While the posts seem to be pro law enforcement, the comments can easily be construed to be divisive. Some point out the actions of “black” people and those involved in rioting. Officer [Simpson] was previously warned about the use of social media after posting other improper comments/behavior.

His termination prompted an investigation by POST and indicated Simpson did not exercise his right to respond to the claims and allegations of the investigation. 

Simpson appealed his termination by ECSO, but the decision was upheld by Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie. 

The investigation resulted in a public reprimand in April 2021 as well as a 24-month probation on his certification. The POST record also reflects a recommendation for POST certification revocation, however, that was not imposed. His probation with POST ran from April 2021 until April 24, 2023. Simpson also had to attend a Cultural Diversity course and an Ethics & Professionalism course at his own expense.

He was on probation with POST when he was hired by Sylvania PD. 

Simpson worked for Centerville PD from March 2016 until July 2018 and for Rincon PD from August 2014 until March 2016. In his job application for Centerville, interviewers denoted 11 red flags on his application, including two for his YES answer to “Have you ever purchased, supplied, or sold any other illegal drugs?” 

The incident from the video was filed in Screven County State Court last week. The charges filed by Simpson against the woman remain pending.

Video: Sylvania Officer Forces Woman to Ground & Then Misrepresents Incident in Report

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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