Convicted cop had been in trouble before - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Convicted cop had been in trouble before

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July 29, 2004

Albany-- Officer James Thomas was suspended less than a year ago for dishonesty. Two weeks ago, patrolman James Thomas was found guilty of stealing money from a badly injured man who was lying on a street.

Now, WALB News 10 has learned this officer had previously been suspended and reprimanded. Last August, Thomas was suspended without pay for two days for violation of standard of conduct, dishonest submission of reports, and negligence of duties.

Officer Thomas got into trouble for making a pass at a young woman who was filing a police report. While the woman was reporting a crime, Officer Thomas told her she had sexy legs.

After an internal investigation, he was suspended for August 14 and 15, 2003 and given a written reprimand.

Thomas was back on the job in April, though, when he worked a motorcycle wreck on Dawson Road. As the motorcycle driver lay badly hurt on the street, Patrolman Thomas stole his wallet, which contained more than two thousand dollars.

Two weeks ago, Officer Thomas was found guilty of that theft, and next week he will be sentenced to prison.

Albany Police chief Bobby Johnson said he's unaware of Thomas' previous problems but will take a look at his personnel file.

With one recently-fired officer awaiting sentencing and another officer arrested for shoplifting, Albany Police are struggling with an image problem.

Thirty-three-year-old patrolwoman Melissa Albritten was arrested Tuesday and charged with shoplifting at T. J. Maxx. She remains on the police force and is suspended with pay.

Police Chief Bobby Johnson is planning a news conference for Friday, when he's expected to outline a plan of action for his department.

posted at 4:30PM by dave.miller@walb.com