BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- Brunswick is without it's police chief and one other high ranking officer. They have both been suspended -- all over a training program for officers. One leading community activist says he fears the suspension is racially motivated.
Brunswick police chief Tobe Green and Captain Mike Melton have been suspended by Brunswick city manager Billy Weeks. They are on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an investigation. The Brunswick News reports the investigation of Green is one requested by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training council.
The council asked police agencies across the state to look into a glitch in the online training system it apparently allowed as many as 500 police officers across the state to earn training credits without spending the required number of hours online.
The training is necessary for officers to maintain their arrest powers.
The Brunswick News reports city manager Weeks is not giving any other details about the investigation of the police.
Local pastor and community activist Kenneth Adkins has researched the testing problems. He says the state training certification agency has indicated there is a misunderstanding with the tests, a systemic problem, and changes have been made for future tests. Adkins believes police officers have done nothing wrong and will not be disciplined. Adkins is concerned that chief Green is one of just a few chiefs suspended around the state during this investigation and the suspension is racially motivated.
"From talking with the officers, and many of them african american officers, that they believe this is kind of a witch hunt that is based on racial issues, and racial tension within the department. Nobody wants to talk about it, everybody is afraid to say what it really is , but if you boil it down, you peel it back, there are a lot of issues that the African-American officers , they believe it is because the chief is black," Adkins says.
Adkins hopes city leaders will deal with these alleged problems within the department and work them out for the benefit of the Brunswick community. Meanwhile no word on how long this investigation of the two police officers will take.
FCN tried to contact both Chief Green and the city manager for more information and for their responses but were unable to reach them.