Another Albany Police Officer arrested - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Another Albany Police Officer arrested

APD Top Cop Bobby Johnson APD Top Cop Bobby Johnson
Longtime police critic Henry Mathis Longtime police critic Henry Mathis

July 30, 2004

Albany-- It's happened again; another APD cop has been booked.

Ironically, at a news conference at noon, as Albany Police Chief Bobby Johnson assured reporters all is well in his department, yet another officer was across the hall being booked on criminal charges.

Officer Thomas Mullen is charged with domestic violence, after pushing his pregnant wife, Iesha, who is also an Albany Police Officer. When we asked Chief Bobby Johnson about this latest officer arrest, he denied any knowledge of it.

"There may be some disciplinary matters, I can not say for sure. Some of these disciplinary things happen early on in the process, and they don't necessarily come to my desk until a later time."

Officer Mullen, who's been with the department four years, was booked and released on bond.

For the first time since these arrests, Albany Police Chief Bobby Johnson addressed reporters this afternoon. Surrounded by about a dozen officers, the chief said he will review hiring procedures for his department. Chief Bobby Johnson said he is saddened by the arrests, and that 99 percent of his department has his utmost confidence.

Johnson said "Not to allow the misdeeds of a few to destroy the good work that each of them do within the community." Johnson said the police hiring process will be reviewed to see if improvements are needed.

Johnson said "it is critical to us that we do everything within our means to ensure that we eliminate applicants that are undesirable." About a dozen officers were present at the news conference and the chief encouraged reporters to ask those officers for comments about the department.

The officers had nothing to say on camera but off camera told WALB NEWS 10 they would be fired for expressing their true feelings.

City Commissioner Henry Mathis, a police department critic, also attended the news conference, and was disturbed. Mathis said "When you have the kind of things going on now happening in the police department, the morale is not good. Because we do have some good police officers."

Chief Bobby Johnson said despite the three arrested officers, the community can be assured the Albany Police Department is dedicated to protect and serve you. Johnson telephoned WALB after the news conference, and said his officers walked out because the news conference was over, not because they don't support him.

And there is news about the two other cops with recent legal troubles-- one of which comes as a shock. Sources tell us that Officer Melissa Albritten, the policewoman arrested this week for shoplifting, was the leader of a multi-city shoplifting ring, and that she shoplifted while wearing her police uniform.

Investigators say Albritten was working with a half dozen other people and stealing from stores in Albany, Columbus, and Macon. Investigators say Albritten and her gang had a tool to remove the theft alarm tags from items.

There is a videotape from the Albany T. J. Maxx store that, we are told, shows Albritten stealing clothes, but police will not let us view or broadcast that tape. Albritten was arrested Tuesday. She's suspended from the Albany Police Department with pay while awaiting trial.

Officer James Thomas, who was convicted of stealing from an injured man will be sentenced Monday. Two weeks ago, he was found guilty of theft. He stole the wallet off a man who lay badly hurt from this motorcycle crash in April. The wallet contained two thousand dollars.

At the time of the theft, Officer Thomas had already been suspended for dishonesty and neglect of duty. Last August, Thomas was suspended for two days after he told a young woman reporting a crime that she had sexy legs and then didn't even file her report.

His sentencing is Monday afternoon.


posted at 4:45PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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