Should Chief Turner Stay or Go?
After giving Chairman Eldrin Bell carte blanche over the Clayton County Police Department, our Board of Commissioners rescinded that order and opted to possibly reassign Police Chief Jeff Turner.
A Power Point presentation complete with pictures, was used to display the mismanagement allegations against Turner, listed in the Clayton News-Daily. A summary follows:
- Sept. 10, 2007: a Clayton County officer was arrested for attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity using a CCPD laptop computer.
- Dec. 7, 2007: a Clayton County officer was terminated after admitting he had engaged the services of prostitutes both on and off duty. The audit claims that in October 2007, “allegations were lodged” against the same officer for allegedly having sex with a female suspect prior to transporting her to jail.
- May 2008: a female detective lodged a compliant of sexual harassment “to her immediate supervisor” and subsequently filed a sexual harassment suit against the county.
- Oct. 8, 2008: a sexual harassment complaint was lodged by a female police department applicant against a sergeant. The audit alleges that Turner “diminished the serious nature of the offense” when reporting the incident to Chairman Bell, and failed to follow a county ordinance “regarding proper notification of sexual harassment allegations.”
- Chief Turner allegedly ignored directives from the county by promoting certain officers to the rank of lieutenant in spring 2009.
- Chief Turner allegedly not sharing vital crime statistics with the Sheriff’s Department. The audit claims Sheriff Kem Kimbrough lodged “several complaints” about the matter in summer 2009.
- Chief Turner and certain staff members allegedly admitting that CCPD paid more than $109,000 to a vendor for hardware and software, of which no “deliverables” were received by the county.
- Aug. 25, 2009: a Clayton County police narcotics agent used a county vehicle to visit a female acquaintance. During the visit, the female’s boyfriend allegedly came to the residence, and while “fleeing the residence in panic,” the officer “ran into his own vehicle with his weapon drawn and shot [a] hole in it.”
- Sept. 7, 2009: two machine guns were stolen from the trunk of an officer’s car.
- Sept. 9, 2009: a police officer engaged in a high-speed chase with a male perpetrator suspected of soliciting sex from a prostitute. The chase ended in a crash on Old National Highway ( Fulton County), killing two innocent, female motorists.
- Reported “allegations of serious misconduct,” which Internal Affairs officers say come from a “credible witness.” Chief of Staff Alex Cohilas said the “allegations of wrongdoing are of such a serious, sensitive, and far-reaching nature that they [could not] be discussed” during last Tuesday’s meeting.
- Reports of 138 unaccounted weapons, 85 undocumented firearms used by police officers, and a narcotics evidence room “in disarray” and “overflowing” with more than 2,000 pounds of drugs, “much of which have destruction orders dating back to 2008.” Chief Turner stated that the department has not been audited in 20 years.
Two follow-up meetings will be held TODAY in the Commissioners’ Boardroom (112 Smith Street/Administration Building, Jonesboro), both of which are open to the public.
At 3 p.m., Chief Turner will get the opportunity to defend himself
. He has already stated that several of the above allegations are untrue or contain inaccurate information, and that crime is down over 7 percent and the homicide rate is down 50 percent in Clayton this year.
The BOC could announce its decision at the second meeting to be held at 6 p.m., where Turner could be reassigned as director of the county’s police academy.
Regardless of what the BOC decides, we can only hope and pray that these decisions lead to a better Clayton county in 2010.