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Monday, February 14, 2011

Campus Police Under Investigation for Hiring Local Cops

Morris Brown Campus Police Under Investigation - February 8, 2011
Local Police Department Under Investigation

ATLANTA, GA -- The president of Morris Brown College says he's launching a full investigation into alleged wrongdoing uncovered by Channel 2 Action News. Channel 2 Action News has learned that the college's police department is under state investigation, accused of employing officers just to work off-duty jobs. Local Police Department Under Investigation. Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer found many of those officers have troubled pasts, or may not even be real officers at all. The Morris Brown College campus only spans about three blocks and enrollment has dwindled to just 63 students. But according to Georgia’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council, the campus police department employs 27 certified police officers. Fleischer found several more working at the school's police headquarters who are not on that list. “That’s way out of line,” said POST Director Ken Vance. "For 60 something students, they ought to have one walking hand in hand with them from class to class." POST launched an investigation, and Vance said the agency hopes to seek a Cease and Desist Order against the school’s police department. "It's about money. It's about money and using Morris Brown College to run a security agency that operates in metro Atlanta," said Vance. It isn't unusual for officers to work off-duty jobs to supplement their police income. But in most departments, they spend more time working on-duty, protecting the public. POST investigative documents show the school only requires an officer work 16 hours each month to remain on the police roster. That makes them eligible to work lucrative off-duty security jobs. Channel 2 obtained internal e-mails from Cobb County police confirming an investigation into two Morris Brown police officers caught working an off-duty job in Smyrna. Both were in uniform and their cars had blue lights. One had no identification, but told the officer he was Ali Bashir, date of birth 4/20/62. The only Morris Brown officer with that last name and birthday had his police certification revoked a decade ago. Fleischer asked if he could face charges for impersonating an officer. “Absolutely,” said Vance. “And you're going to see some serious looks in that direction." POST investigators are also taking a serious look at three fake identification cards seized while questioning Morris Brown Police Chief Jabir Bashir. They were signed by the current assistant chief, Daymond Langford, before he was demoted from the chief’s job. The cards call his employees "duly sworn police officers" authorized to perform law enforcement duties. But they are not POST certified. “I'm a PSO, public safety officer, not a police officer," said Sgt. Maurice Campbell. One of the three seized cards has Campbell’s Social Security number on it. Fleischer found many of the officers who are properly certified have troubling records also. Of the 27 on the roster, POST has publicly reprimanded, placed on probation, or otherwise investigated 17 of them. "It looks like it's someone that can't get hired anywhere else," said Vance. On three separate days, Fleischer tried to track down Bashir for answers. "He said, 'You could leave a card and he would be available tomorrow,'" said a student and part-time public safety officer. The next day, Fleischer returned. “Yeah, he probably, he will be here today,” said Public Safety Officer Henry Johnson. Johnson called Chief Bashir, who by phone told Fleischer he was out of town for training but would not disclose the nature of the training or the location. He said he would return Monday. On Monday, Fleischer found the doors locked and Public Safety Officer Johnson refused to open them. Investigators from Georgia’s Department of Public Safety also visited the Morris Brown Police Department to revoke the blue light permits from all of its unmarked vehicles. "We opened the case on one afternoon, and retrieved the permits by the close of business the next. It's a very serious matter," said DPS spokesman Gordy Wright. “Something is really, really wrong here,” said Vance. "I wouldn't even classify it as a police agency right now."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised by this report. I am a retired twenty-year veteran policeman. I had the misfortune of working as a campus policeman at a private college in North Carolina for eight years. Without exception, it was the worst experience of my career. Law enforcement is inherently problematic--no agency is perfect. But I discovered that the setup for "campus police", as it stands under NC statutes, was systemically corrupt. It is impossible to swear an oath to uphold laws and, at the same time, serve at the pleasure of a private entity. I still have nightmares about working there.