Hilton Head Island From Staff Reports - November 2, 2009
Two former Hardeeville police officers pleaded guilty today to charges they illegally pocketed money during traffic stops, charges that stem from an investigation by the S.C. Law Enforcement Division. Tony Pollen of Ridgeland was arrested in January 2009 and charged with misconduct in public office and embezzling more than $5,000, according to a news release from the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. Judge J. Ernest Kinard sentenced him today to five years of probation, 500 hours of community service, a $500 fine and restitution of $307. Pollen, who worked as a corporal with the Hardeeville Police Department from 2002 to 2006, targeted Hispanic drivers, accepting cash bonds in exchange for not giving them a ticket, the release said. “He admitted to targeting Hispanic drivers and the last names in his ticket book back that up,” said Solicitor Duffie Stone. “It is a very serious offense for an officer sworn to uphold the law to violate the public’s trust. Corruption damages public safety more than just about any other crime because it undermines the trust the public has in the criminal justice system.” Christian R. Nollinger of Bluffton was arrested in October 2007 and charged with misconduct in public office, a misdemeanor that carries up to a $1,000 fine and a year in prison, the release said. Kinard sentenced him today to six months of probation, four days of community service and a $150 fine. He had worked as a patrol sergeant at the Hardeeville Police Department from July 2006 to October 2007. Nollinger pulled a Hispanic driver over for speeding and discovered the man also didn’t have a driver’s license, the release said. He issued the man two state uniform traffic tickets and accepted a cash bond for each citation. He turned over the $128 bond for the driver’s license violation to the Hardeeville Clerk of Court Office, but destroyed the speeding ticket and kept the $128 bond for that citation, the release said.