Police officers punished for serious misconduct by the state may continue to draw their pay and even carry a badge for years if they appeal the sanctions, according to an analysis of state data by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Some appeals languish for more than a decade after arriving at the state attorney general’s office, which represents the state in such appeals. Cases currently pending have been on file for an average of five years, the newspaper’s investigation found.
Rank and file officers and even chiefs of police have continued to work — for their original agency or a different one — after being sanctioned for violations as serious as killing a recruit during training, waving a gun at random in a bar, falsifying official records and DUI. Some officers were accused of new offenses while they appealed their first cases.
In addition to putting the public at risk and consuming tax dollars, the delays may create an undue burden for officers who are eventually cleared by the courts. In the meantime, they labor under a cloud of suspicion. That suspicion may weaken their credibility as witnesses in other cases they handled.
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (found at the U.S. Copyright Office) and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.