Two of three examiners at the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office recommended hiring a deputy who was fired and arrested last week on accusations he forced a woman into a sex act after a traffic stop.
The examiners gave Willie Marshay Greer, 33, generally "satisfactory" scores, but gave Greer low marks during an interview because he had difficulty clearly presenting ideas.
"Didn't describe what officer discretion actually is," wrote one interviewer.
In another report, an interviewer wrote, "Candidate missed an opportunity to really sell himself. His answers were heartfelt but they just weren't on target."
Three examiners gave him about 60 percent on his interview scoring sheet, Sheriff's Office records show.
When the Sheriff's Office checked his references, Greer had glowing reviews.
"Applicant is relentlessly hardworking, honest, has professional bearing, courage, is dependable, challenges self, is restraining and calm and seeks a career in law enforcement. Would rehire him immediately. Nothing negative to report," said Lt. James Tucker with the Forrest City, Ark., police department. Tucker has known Greer since he was a boy, according to the background report.
Greer was hired without any reservation by the sheriff.
At a news conference last week, Sheriff Jim Hammond said, "There's no reason to believe that this would have occurred."
"There is nothing in the applicant's background that would preclude him from employment with the Hamilton County Sheriff's office pending the required testing of all new applicants," a background report reads.
Greer was arrested in 2003 on a disorderly conduct charge in England, Ark., that was later dismissed, according to a disclosure he made to a Chattanooga Police Department polygraph examiner.
In 2005, when he was 24 years old, West Memphis, Ark., police responded to a call of a man with a shotgun arguing with others on a basketball court.
When officers arrived, Greer said he had a shotgun in the back of his Ford Explorer, according to an incident report.
"Greer stated a white male unknown name and description ran through the park and said, 'Take this and hide it, It's stolen,' and ran north through the bushes. Greer later stated that he did get into an argument with some other guys, whom also had guns and drugs, but left in a white Mazda," the West Memphis Police Department incident report states.
The incident was documented as a found property report. No charges were filed.
Records show that Greer entered law enforcement in 2007 when he became a jailer at the Crittenden County Sheriff's Office in Arkansas. In 2008, he joined the Forrest City Police Department as a patrol officer.
He moved on to work as a campus officer at Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis to shorten his hourlong drive to work, he wrote on his application at the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.
When his wife found a job in Chattanooga, he was accepted as a cadet at Chattanooga Police Department last year but left the academy for "personal" reasons.
He served as a campus officer at Chattanooga State Community College before joining the sheriff's office. Nothing in his personnel file at Chattanooga State indicated Greer had any problems on the campus.
Greer was still a probationary sheriff's employee when the incident happened on Jan. 5 in Harrison.
The woman told authorities that Greer stopped her for speeding on Birchwood Pike and told her he would not take her in on pending warrants. She said he told her, "I could let you go, but you'd owe me."
Greer told the woman to follow him to the 11300 block of Thatch Road. She was handcuffed again before he exposed himself and forced her to perform the sex act, according to the arrest report.
Greer told investigators the sex act was consensual.
He was terminated and arrested on charges of aggravated rape and official misconduct.
Greer declined to comment Friday night when reached by phone.
His attorneys, Lee Davis and Bryan Hoss, plan to issue a statement on his behalf after his scheduled Feb. 11 court appearance in Hamilton County General Sessions Court.
Davis also declined to comment Friday evening.
Contact staff writer Beth Burger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6406. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/abburger.