SRO investigation handed over to District Attorney for review

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An internal investigation that led to the resignation of a city police officer has now been turned over to the District Attorney for review.

On Monday, Michael Sproviero resigned from the Elizabethton Police Department in lieu of termination after an internal investigation found he made an inappropriate remark to a student at T.A. Dugger Junior High School where he served as the School Resource Officer. The incident was not the first time Sproviero, a 22-year veteran of the department, faced formal discipline for his conduct. A review of his personnel file showed five cases of formal discipline in the past nine years, including one demotion.

Throughout the course of the internal investigation the District Attorney’s Office was made aware of the investigation and updated on any findings, EPD Chief Greg Workman said.

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“It is entirely up to the District Attorney’s Office as to how they want to proceed,” he said. “The ball is in their court.”

Turning over the internal investigation results is a matter of procedure, Workman said.

“Our job is simply to determine if policy or procedure was violated, and in this case it was,” he said. “If there were criminal charges to be placed, we would not do that on our own officer. It would have to be done by an outside independent agency.”

The District Attorney’s Office will review the findings by the police department and determine if any criminal charges are warranted, Workman said. “If the actual complainant, or victim, wants to proceed with criminal charges, the District Attorney’s Office has that information,” he said.

However, the act of turning the results over to the District Attorney does not mean that criminal charges are pending against Sproviero, Workman said.

“I seriously, seriously doubt criminal charges will come from this,” he said. “I would be shocked.”

Following Sproviero’s resignation on Monday, Workman released the official results of his department’s internal investigation.

The department found Sproviero had engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer and failed to maintain control of department issued equipment, Workman said.

While Sproviero was on duty at T.A. Dugger, he began playing a game of dodgeball with a group of students in the gym and a female student was struck by the ball, Workman said.

“Once the individual was struck, he made an inappropriate comment to the student,” Workman said, adding Sproviero admitted to making the comment. “She made the statement of what was said and he verified what he said.” Workman declined to say what the officer said to the student.

The recommendation of the report was that Sproviero’s employment be terminated, but the officer was allowed to resign in lieu of being fired.