Sunday, January 3, 2010

Word: Clayton Commission removes police chief

Posted By on Sun, Jan 3, 2010 at 4:43 PM

After weeks of power struggles and an audit that alleged mismanagement, the Clayton County Commission on Dec. 28 voted to reassign Police Chief Jeff Turner to the county's police academy. Turner — a 22-year veteran and the first African-American cop to lead the force — plans to fight to regain his old job.

“We had to deal with some serious issues related to the management of the department... One-hundred-and-thirty-eight missing guns is incredibly significant. Two-thousand or 3,000 pounds of narcotics that have destruction orders is significant. There [are] a lot things that Chief Turner does incredibly well, but there were a number of things that were problematic for the county."

— Clayton Commissioner Wole Ralph, quoted in a Dec. 29 Clayton Daily News article.

“The genesis of every deficiency… was years, if not decades, in the making... It’s not that I was doing anything wrong, but I wasn’t doing things the way they wanted me to."

— Turner, who rebutted the audit's claims in a 27-page response, told the AJC on Dec. 28 that he inherited a department filled with problems.

“All the mayors, we are behind Turner 100 percent... He has worked with each municipality and our chiefs. Jeff has worked tirelessly to better this county. They [the board] are taking their own course because Jeff won’t bow down to them.”

— Lake City Mayor Willie Oswalt, who also chairs the Clayton County Municipal Association, expressed disappointment over Turner's reassignment.

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