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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cops Resign Over Gambling Investigation

Pelham PD officers resign
WALB by Christian Jennings - January 3, 2011

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Pelham Two female Pelham Police officers resigned after a GBI investigation revealed they were involved in an illegal gambling operation. The District Attorney says he gave Captain Linda Coliman and Sergeant Mary Johnson a choice to resign or face possible indictment and prosecution. The women turned in their badges. It was the Pelham Police Department's Chief and Lead investigator who made the decision to contact the GBI when they were told two of their officers, a Captain and a Sergeant, were possibly working security on the side for an illegal gambling operation outside a Petro gas station in Pelham. The women aren't charged with a crime, but they are no longer certified to work as police officers in the state of Georgia. Former Pelham police officer Linda Coliman served as a Captain and DARE officer during her 29 years of service. Mary Johnson worked for Pelham PD for 24 years and was a sergeant on the roads. "After talking to the DA the officers made the choice to resign and surrender their post certification," said Pelham Police Inv. Rod Williams. This all came to light December 3rd when Pelham Police arrested four men for operating an illegal gambling operation made to look like a mobile carnival of sorts. It was set up outside the Petro gas station in town for several weeks. "During the investigation early on we received info that police officers had been going over there acting as security for the operation," said Williams. Pelham investigators called the GBI and their investigation uncovered evidence that Coliman and Johnson were working security for pay, knowing the operation was illegal. The women denied allegations, but resigned on the Wednesday before Christmas. "They needed security because people would get mad when they lost money and they needed to keep themselves from being harmed by the people who were conning," said Williams. The incident shocked the Chief and Lead Investigator who worked with the women throughout their careers. "It's tough to recover because I've known the officers for so long but we are making new assignments and seeking out new employees so we'll get through it," said Pelham Police Chief Nealie McCormick. Since the officers' resignation rumors have been flying throughout the small town about other officers in the department, but Pelham Police say those are just rumors. Pelham Police say this will leave their short-staffed department even more under-staffed. Police say that gambling operation traveled around the country ripping people off with their rigged gambling machines. The men arrested were from all over the country, one man as far away as Chicago.

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