Former DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputy Antonio Perryman was terminated from his job three days before he was to retire from an illustrious 20-year career with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia.
According to WSB-TV News, Perryman wanted to end his career on a fun note and decided to don an Afro wig while he directed traffic in front of the local courthouse during his final week on the job. The department didn’t take kindly to the idea and fired Perryman for “disgracing the uniform.”
Bystanders appeared to enjoy the lighthearted gesture and snapped photos that were shared on social media. Perryman, who is bald, wore a wig that could have been his hair.
“My plan was to finish with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office with 20 years of service and I got robbed from that,” Perryman said in an interview with the news channel.
He was then scolded by DeKalb County Chief Deputy Sheriff Melody Maddox. Maddox, a Black woman, was appointed to the position in July 2019.
“I was later informed by Chief Maddox that she and the sheriff were totally upset over the Afro wig and told me that I disgraced the uniform. When she told me that, I just got numb,” Perryman detailed.
“Like ‘I disgraced the uniform’? And in my mind, I’m up here saying that we got [sic] a sheriff running through Piedmont Park from the police like it’s an episode of ‘Cops’,” he continued.
Perryman was referencing an incident from 2017 that involved another sheriff — Jeffrey Mann. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sheriff Mann was arrested for public indecency and obstruction of justice after Atlanta police officers responded to complaints of a man running naked through Piedmont Park. Though Mann’s certification to practice law enforcement was revoked, he was not terminated from the department and is still listed as a sheriff.
The reason for Perryman’s dismissal is not clear. The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office’s policy and procedures do include sections on professional image and personal appearance.
The complete DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office’s policy and procedures can be read here.
Specifically sections 2-2.12 and 2-2.16 of the handbook, do not suggest that wearing an Afro wig is a first-time fireable offense. The first steps in taking corrective action against either offense are “written counseling” and “verbal counseling,” according to the handbook.
Given the procedures in the handbook, the lingering question remains. Why was Perryman terminated?
Perryman doesn’t fear losing pay for putting on the wig, but he is perturbed that his otherwise exemplary record won’t indicate he retired from the department.