Former Lt. Tiffaney N. Bratton of the South Boston Police Department has been charged with embezzlement charges following an investigation with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office, according to a release provided by Virginia State Police.
The 49-year-old resident of South Boston was taken into custody Tuesday without incident and charged with one felony count of embezzlement and one felony count of embezzlement by an officer of public funds.
She turned herself into Virginia State Police at Blue Ridge Regional Jail and was released on a $2,000 unsecured bond.
Bratton also was terminated from the police department Wednesday.
State police initiated the investigation in August 2021 at the request of South Boston Police Chief Bryan Young.
Chief Young contacted state police after discrepancies were discovered within the department’s evidence room and inventory during the month of July 2021. The discrepancies were discovered during an audit, according to a statement released by town officials.
Young explained Thursday that the audit was part of their accreditation process.
The July audit followed Bratton’s April promotion from rank of sergeant to lieutenant, head of the police department’s investigations division.
She was the first female lieutenant in the department’s history.
As lieutenant of the investigations division, Bratton commanded criminal investigations as well as narcotics and gang investigations.
Bratton joined the South Boston Police Department in 2006, after starting her career in law enforcement at the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office. She quickly moved through the ranks of the police department.
As a result of the investigation, Bratton was placed on paid administrative leave on Aug. 16, as stated in the town officials’ statement.
The town of South Boston has been made aware of the criminal charges, the statement also said.
“The town of South Boston has fully supported Chief Bryan Young throughout this process,” said town manager Thomas Raab. “We have a zero-tolerance policy for unlawful actions of this nature, and are grateful for the work of our auditors in discovering this case.”
“We are saddened by this news. Our officers and staff are held to a high standard and the actions described in these charges certainly do not meet those standards,” Young said.
But, even with the accusations that lay before Bratton, Young feels that she should not be judged and that people should remember her accomplishments with the department.
“It’s important that we can’t judge people by one or two mistakes. I hope they also understand that someone like Bratton with 20 plus years of experience had a positive performance and outstanding relationship with the community. It doesn’t justify wrongdoing, but we as a staff, community and profession are more to a person that one or two missteps,” he added.
Once state police completed its investigation, the criminal investigative findings were turned over to a Lynchburg Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, the special prosecutor assigned to the case.
Bratton is due in Halifax County General District Court Oct. 28 for a preliminary hearing.