Arlington Sheriff James Gondles has disciplined a female deputy for violating jail policy by conducting a strip search of a woman charged with driving with a suspended license.
Gondles was in Richmond yesterday and could not be reached for comment, but Deputy Sheriff Tom Faust, the jail's director of administration, said Gondles was "very disturbed when he heard there had been a violation of his written policy regarding strip searches.
"He does not want it to happen again and I would say that he has indicated that any future incidences could result in a possible dismissal."
After a controversy in 1979-80, Gondles abandoned his predecessor's policy of strip-searching everyone admitted to the jail, regardless of how minor the offense. Other sheriffs in the metropolitan area, criticized for similar policies, also halted strip searches of those arrested on minor charges and who are expected to be released on bond in a short time.
Gondles disciplined the deputy, Linda Wilson, by suspending her five days without pay, canceling 40 hours of accrued leave and placing a letter of reprimand in her personnel file, Faust said.
He said Wilson had violated written jail policies when she strip-searched a woman charged on Sept. 21 with driving with a suspended license. The woman was in jail only a few hours before her husband posted bond, he said.
After the woman allegedly refused three times to allow Wilson to do a routine "pat down," the deputy "believed the woman was concealing something she didn't want detected in the pat down," Faust said.
In addition to not doing the attempted pat down in front of the booking desk as department policy requires, Wilson also failed to have the woman screened by a metal detector or to get a supervisor's permission for the subsequent strip search, Faust said.
Wilson could not be reached yesterday for comment.