Police force dwindles to lone officer - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Police force dwindles to lone officer

August 9, 2002

The Newton Police Chief is fired, leaving only one part-time police officer.

The Newton City Council voted Thursday night to get rid of Police Chief Toney Allegood. The Newton Police Department has been shrinking over the past four months. At least four part-time officers have quit, and now the city has fired Police Chief Toney Allegood.

Allegood says no one wanted to work against pressures from the city, but he still wants to know why he was fired. "I asked for a reason, and they never gave me a reason."

A City council woman says he was hired illegally by the Mayor.

Four months after getting hired, Newton Police Chief Toney Allegood is cleaning out his desk fired by city council. We wanted to know why the city decided to fire Chief Allegood.

When we caught up with Councilwoman Mammie Lanier, she was running a cash register at a local grocery store: "That's city business and I'm at work right now."

But, the city wants to know why that was a decision by the council?
Mammie: It was a decision by three people who voted and... I'm at work right now. I can't discuss city business, thank you."

It's a touchy subject. The former chief says Mayor B. B. Johnson asked him to work for the police department. "Certain city councilmen have went against the police department," Allegood says.

He wants answers from those who voted against him. When we told Ms. Lanier that the mayor said she never heard a reason, she said: "I thank you for this film. If it needs to be discussed, you guys need to come to the meeting and we'll talk about it."

Later, Mammie Lanier referred us to the city ordinance, which states:

"The Police Chief shall be appointed by the Mayor, by and with the advice and consent of City Council..."

Lanier says the council was never notified prior to the hire. "If it was an illegal hire and they knew it, why didn't they do something about it at the first meeting, second meeting or third one?" asked a surprised Allegood.

For now, Allegood is tying up lose ends. Until the city decides who will take his place, the City of Newton will have empty police cars. The Baker County Sheriff's Department will take the city police calls for now, but they're short staffed, too.

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