Leaders examine APD hiring practices - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Leaders examine APD hiring practices

August 3, 2004

Albany-- The arrest of three APD officers in as many months raised concerns with city commissioners. They asked the city manager and police chief to bring them all information about the officers. And they demanded a review of all hiring and training practices for police.

Did bad people slip through the cracks to become officers, and if so, how can we make sure that it doesn't happen again? The city manager says she's trying to answer those questions.

Three strikes against the Albany Police Department - Officer James Thomas was sentenced Monday for stealing from a wreck victim. Officer Melissa Albritten was arrested for leading a multi-city shoplifting ring. And just Friday, Officer Thomas Mullen was arrested for pushing his pregnant wife.

Now, city commissioners are demanding to know how the men and women sworn to protect us are landing on the wrong side of the law. "What was requested today was not unlike what we've already been doing," said City Manager Janice Allen Jackson. "As soon as the Albritten case broke, part of my remarks at that time was 'I would have the police department fully investigate hiring process used with her to make sure all of our procedures were followed.'"

City Manager Janice Allen Jackson expected commissioners to ask for a probe into the hiring practices and training officers. She told the police chief to compile information from background checks to disciplinary procedures to make sure APD isn't hiring potential problems. "Hopefully our troops know that, I, the city manager and the police chief feel good about the quality of officers overall on the force. That does not mean we don't have some people that are not deserving. As those folks are identified, they need to be moved off the force. "

After reviewing the hiring and training procedures, city commissioners can make changes to keep bad cops off the force. They also want to see the complete personnel files of Albritten, Thomas, and Mullen-- as well as several other officers with other violations.

Commissioner Tommie Postell suggested that a letter be sent to the APD stating that the force as a whole is doing a good job, but that officers of questionable morals must be rooted out.

Commissioners did not set a time frame for the probe. It could take several weeks to do a complete review and make changes.

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