Former APD officers speak out about force - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Former APD officers speak out about force

David Hamilton David Hamilton
Earl Yearicks Earl Yearicks
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August 13, 2003

Lee County - Two former Albany Police officers say bad leadership and low morale forced them to leave. "When you're steadily getting grinded down before you even hit the streets, it's hard to have a good attitude for the rest of the day," said former Patrolman David Hamilton.

Earl Yearicks and David Hamilton are among scores of police officers who've quit the department since Bobby Johnson became chief. More than 150 Albany Police officers have left the force since 1997. Yearicks and Hamilton say poor management is the reason they left. They took pay cuts to get away from the APD and headed north to Lee County, where both are now deputies with the Sheriff's Department.

"They people here are better to work with, and Lee County offers cheaper benefits. I also get a take home car," said Hamilton. On July 16, 2003, Hamilton resigned after two years with the APD. He just couldn't take the constant grief from superior officers."They have supervisors who are looking for things to write you up for and suspend you for. I just don't think that's right."

Tuesday, the retention rate at the APD came under fire from the City's Public Safety Committee. And, commissioners demanded to know why officers are leaving. "Five people, hired at the APD the same time I was, came here to the Lee County Sheriff's Department," said Hamilton.

Each week, the Lee County Sheriff Department receives several resumes from APD officers looking for a change. In fact, one landed on the Sheriff's desk Wednesday morning. "Everybody at APD was looking for someplace else to go, except for the officers who had to much time invested into the force," said Earl Yearicks.

Yearicks resigned from APD on July 22, 2003. And, he didn't sugar coat why we decided to quit in his resignation letter. "I wrote that I wanted to move on to somewhere of good morale and troop welfare."

Albany Police Chief Bobby Johnson said many officers leave because of low pay. But, Yearicks and Hamilton took pay cuts at their new jobs. "Once you consider the benefits, which cost me half as much now in Lee County, I come home with more money in my pocket despite the pay cut," said Hamilton.

"I was treated like a dog at APD, here they treat me lie a man," said Yearicks. The deputies now look forward to work. "My wife's even made comments that I'm in a better mood when I get home," said Hamilton.

Chief Johnson says the retention rate is no lower than other departments across Georgia.

Posted at 4:35M by kathryn.murchison@walb.com