City looks to panel for police improvement - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City looks to panel for police improvement

August 16, 2004

Albany-- In the wake of a string of arrests within APD, C
hief Bobby Johnson ignored a panel's recommendation that he not hire Melissa Albritten, and he hired her anyway. Now that Albritten's been arrested and charged with running a shoplifting ring, a panel has been appointed to look into the chief's actions.

Albany City Manager Janice Allen Jackson says that she hears on the street that people are concerned about the overall integrity of the police department. For that reason, she has appointed a panel to investigate Chief Bobby Johnson's hiring practices, and if protocols were violated.

Johnson's job could be on the line. "We undertake a thorough process with that. Chief Johnson, like any other city employee, will be afforded that opportunity. Like in the court system, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty," she said.

City Attorney Nathan Davis, and Human resources director Mary Hines will be on the three-person panel, and a neutral person not a city employee, will be included. That person could be a law enforcement chief from Virginia.

Jackson said that she did not want to taint the way the panel handled its affairs, and that's why she's bringing them in, to give an independent look at the way the department is being run.

We asked Chief Bobby Johnson for a statement about the panel. He declined to go on camera, but said this is part of the city manager's job, and that she was in charge of the investigation.

posted at 6:40PM by dave.miller@walb.com