Law Enforcement in Fayette County

Basmati's picture

Law enforcement personnel are fortunate in that their profession is one a very select few confers an automatic degree of respect by the general public. I can’t think of any other professions that generate this automatic level of respect besides perhaps firefighters and doctors.

Having said that, wearing a badge does not confer an immunity from criticism.

The current law enforcement leadership in Fayette County is, and this is solely my personal opinion, probably the weakest it has been in decades.

  • Sheriff Randall Johnson seems content to “play out the string” in what is obviously his last term of office by focusing on protecting and preserving the perks of his petty kingdom (and his helicopter, of course) from outside scrutiny. He’s a master of Machiavellian politics, working tirelessly to oust county commissioners who decline to genuflect to his behind-the-scenes machinations.
  • LTC Bruce Jordan indulged his hobby of amateur psychology with his inappropriate speculation with regards to the mindset of that Kittrell kid who brought weapons to school.
  • Likewise, Detective Tommy Pope commenting about Kittrell complaining about being bullied all the time. Notably absent was what exactly former school resource officer Pope did about all these complaints.
  • Drug force Captain Mike Pruitt, caught with his hand in the expense account cookie jar, lacked the character to say, “hey, I’m sorry, I screwed up”. To the contrary, he shows up here, later joined by his wife She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-Lest-Civilizations-Fall, complaining about how their lives have been put in some sort of danger.
  • Over in Peachtree City this past summer, we were treated to the spectacle of the law enforcement equivalent of Laurel and Hardy, Major Dupree and Captain Pye, assessing the potential adverse impacts on their respective careers before deciding on a course of action when faced with a drunk cart-driving city manager.
  • A McIntosh student puts up a parody MySpace page mocking the school resource officer, and the officer responds by charging the student with a felony of “impersonating a police officer”.

I am wondering if the Sheriff’s Department realizes how much the Kittrell case adversely impacted their reputation. There is a sizable minority of opinion in the community that thinks that the Sheriff’s Dept. was more interested in maximum favorable publicity over deterring crime when they sat on a kid-with-a-gun tip for three months. There is a perception, rightly or wrongly, that kids were unnecessarily put at risk on the first day of school in order for the Sheriff’s department to have their moment in the spotlight. I’m still waiting to see an exact timeline of the events.

A little over a week ago, Fayette county drug agents were involved in a major drug bust in Gwinnett county. I asked a simple question, albeit somewhat snarkily: Why the hell were Fayette deputies engaging in gun battles 50 miles away from their home county? To date, the only responses I’ve received were from police apologists Tonto and Harvey, who claimed A) how DARE I criticize the Sheriff’s dept and B) “we know stuff we can’t talk about ‘coz we have cop friends”. This was followed up by a blog from deputy “silent no more” who complained about not being able to see his kids for two days (which probably didn’t resonate well with the Delta flight attendants in Fayette who routinely go 4-5 days without seeing their kids) and the “countless hours” he has to put in on their jobs. Hello? You see all these big homes here in Fayette county? You think the breadwinners in these homes got there by working 9 to 5?

Look, I’m quite aware that law enforcement is a stressful career. Don’t think that I don’t appreciate what you do, I truly DO thank you for fighting crime. (I’d prefer that you do it within the confines of Fayette county, but I digress). I’m also not questioning your dedication, you wouldn’t be doing this job if you didn’t love it. Like the old saying goes, “it’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it”. I simply ask that you not take it as a personal affront when someone has questions about what is going on.

And yes, before I forget, “Bravo!” for capturing the Publix drug dealers yesterday!

Finally, as a favor to ole Basmati, could you please send a drug agent out to the cart path next to McIntosh high school (on the right) around 3:30 to 4 pm? The local police do not seem interested in the giant open-air marijuana auction that seems to occur there about every third day after school lets out.

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mapleleaf's picture
Submitted by mapleleaf on Mon, 08/28/2006 - 1:55pm.

Who is this Sheriff Randall Cunningham you're talking about?

I thought the Fayette County sheriff was named Randall Johnson.

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Mon, 08/28/2006 - 3:00pm.

Sheriff Randall Cunningham was the first sheriff to ever rush for over 1,000 yards and pass for over 3,000 yards in a single season. Sheriff Cunningham was a four-time Pro-Bowl selection.

You're obviously not a Republican because you're an Eagles fan.

Vote Republican

Submitted by skyspy on Sun, 08/27/2006 - 5:19pm.

Why do you keep trying to bust the kids smoking pot? As long as they are not damaging anyone's property, who cares? The only sad thing is I don't think they can OD on pot. Sad, but true because it would be the perfect solution to people who use drugs.
Stop trying to bait the cops with your info on where kids are using drugs; they don't care and most of them don't have time to read this anyway.

Please stop criticizing cops. You have no idea what it is like to put your life on the line each and every day. I have no idea either.
I wouldn't do their job for what I get paid, and d#$% sure wouln't do it for what they get paid and neither would you!!

We can "monday morning quarterback" these situations all we want to. But the bottom line is they did the best they could with what they had.
(also the word on the street re: the Gwinnett thing, our guys were the only county drug task force in the ATl metro area that were free to help the DEA. This is because of how tough our deputies are we had the least crime of any other county to deal with that day).

Submitted by tonto707 on Sat, 08/26/2006 - 10:27pm.

is the epotime of a fool!

Submitted by did not know on Sat, 08/26/2006 - 8:39pm.

AS a Mother, the Kitrell thing made me sick. Kids that age are just kids walking around in adult bodies. They need us so much at that stage to tell them right from wrong. They are so close to going out forever with what little we taught them. They are considered adults and are still trying their wings. Some make it, some get mixed signals from us even though we think we are doing right by them. If they loose their way, a wise person would reach out and try to help put them on the right path. That is why that sticks with me. I still have a lot of questions. Who was the other kid? Why did they sit on it for months? Yes, you have rules, but don't you have morals too? I would have broke the rules to try to help. I would have called the parents, or called the kid in, in the summer just to talk, man to man. Try to get next to him, try to help him, try to see what made him tick. What a wonderful thing for him and me, if it had worked! No fanfare, but God! I would have felt so good about it. And a boy, may have been saved and taken a different path. We have so many that didn't. What would it have hurt to try?

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Sat, 08/26/2006 - 8:48pm.

This was in the AJC.

School's weapons incident reviewed

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/24/06

Fayette County Public Schools officials are reviewing how staff members handled the investigation of a student who police say brought a car loaded with rifles, handguns and nearly 200 rounds of ammunition to campus on the first day of school.

In an interview last week, Superintendent John D. DeCotis said administrators were examining how officials at Whitewater High School responded to the tip — received during the summer — that two students might bring weapons to the Fayetteville school.

DeCotis said his staff would look at "the sequence of events" to determine whether the suspected students were properly monitored before they were taken out of class for questioning; whether he should have been notified of the potential crisis before police seized the weapons and arrested one of the students; and whether proper safety procedures were followed.
"It took me several days myself to find out what I understand the sequence of events to be," DeCotis said. "I still don't know if I have a total handle on it."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has found some discrepancies in administrators' accounts of what occurred the day Fayette County sheriff's deputies carted away Robin Kittrell, who remains in jail on nine weapons violations, including six felonies.

When asked about the tip the day after the arrest, for example, Whitewater principal Greg Stillions said he was notified by a central office administrator that the 17-year-old senior might have "knives and guns."

Later, that administrator, through a spokeswoman, said the tipster mentioned two students as possibly having knives, but not guns. Both were questioned and searched on the first day of school, she said, and one was cleared.
Also, when asked why Kittrell was allowed to enter the school building when he knew the student might have a weapon, Stillions said Kittrell had no record of disciplinary offenses and noted how difficult it would have been to locate him among 1,700 other teenagers.

"Trying to seek someone out in the middle of a crowd where there are people that can create emotions ... was not what we were looking for," he said.
Later, system spokeswoman Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said an assistant principal actually was watching Kittrell from the moment he drove onto campus — something Stillions never mentioned — until the teen reached his first class.
Stillions did not return repeated phone calls for clarification.

Few parents seem to be concerned about how the incident was handled. County Board of Education chairwoman Terri Smith, whose daughter attends Whitewater, said she hasn't received a single call.

"I don't want to armchair quarterback," she said. "But from what I hear, they handled it correctly."
Despite the system's internal review, which DeCotis said was routine, a formal report will not be issued. He said changes would be made to Whitewater's safety plan, if needed.

"Thank God, nobody got hurt, physically — nobody got shot," he said. "Thank God, nobody was threatened — that we know of.
"We're just thankful for that."

Submitted by did not know on Sat, 08/26/2006 - 8:53pm.

The AJC seemed more concerned that most here. Pity.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Sat, 08/26/2006 - 9:07pm.

I posted this before.

This “TIP” leaves a LOT to be desired!
When did the TIP come in?
Where did the TIP come from?
Who received this TIP?
How was the TIP received?
What exactly was the TIP?
Who was notified about the TIP?
When were they notified about the TIP

While we’re at it, the ‘Why’ part of the TIP should be answered as well?

Was the kid being surveilled prior to school restarted?
If the case was in the back seat of the car, as stated, did anyone bother to look in the car while it was on school property during band practice?

I fully understand that local law enforcement has barely had time to get answers to these and a few hundred other questions.
Other than the kid did something unbelievably stupid and illegal I don’t yet see ‘Columbine II’ in the making here.

I truly pray that the outcome of all of this will not be ‘Columbine II’ in the making.

We simply DON’T have enough facts yet to arrive at any kind of conclusion.

Another sad thought is that we may never have an answer to these and several other questions.

At this point in time I’m just grateful that all but one of the students came home from school that day unharmed.

tortugaocho's picture
Submitted by tortugaocho on Sat, 08/26/2006 - 6:54pm.

I don't always agree with Rice Boy, but I consider it beyond debate that his (or perhaps her) opinions are well-thought out and backed by facts and actual events and history. His blogs are not simply name calling. This blog is valuable because it focuses on the actions of public figures and provokes discussion. Again, I do not agree with all of Basmati's conclusions.

However, this blog was absolutely amusing and entertaining. The image of the "open air marijuana auction" would be sad if it were not (a) true and (b) so humorously portrayed. There are other good posters as well.

This blog may even be as good as the one you did on Lunkhead Lynn getting trapped into the Colbert Show Massacre.

BTW--- where is Basmati available in Fayette ?

P.S. Why the reference to Randall Cunningham ? Even in his prime, Randall was never as fast as Randall Cunningham.

Basmati's picture
Submitted by Basmati on Sat, 08/26/2006 - 7:53pm.

P.S. Why the reference to Randall Cunningham ? Even in his prime, Randall was never as fast as Randall Cunningham.

How embarassing...I always want to call Randall Johnson "Randy Johnson", after the Big Unit MLB Pitcher. So I'm typing away, thinking to myself "Don't type Randy Johnson" and what do I do? Type "Randall Cunningham".

*rolling eyes*

Submitted by dopplerobserver on Sat, 08/26/2006 - 6:42pm.

Isn't Col. Pye and Sergeant Fife, that you mentioned, the same two who left a gun showing in a golf cart at the air show? Are these the ones who arrest drunken golf cart drivers? Good for them!
I guess we will soon see the four or five new authorized officers patrolling the 100 miles of golf cart paths-yeah right, maybe a month. Horses would work better on the paths, or even jackasses. But that would require a pooper scooper, I'm afraid. I'm not making fun of these men here, I just know that the mayor, council, town manager, ass't town manager, and the Chief are NOT going to do this job consistently. It is beneath them and impossible for them to plan.

Submitted by thebiggun on Sat, 08/26/2006 - 4:12pm.

I don't really know how to point out to the reading public what an uninformed jerk you really are. Almost every name you wrote about and rank you gave them, must have come from the pipe dream you have been smoking. Every person your mentioned has more courage and integity in their little finger then you have in your whole family.

Now Sheriff Cunningham must have come from you watching "Happy Days" which would be a real reach for you intellectually to watch. Sheriff Johnson is the man I think you are talking about and you can't even get his name right never mind question his ability to run his department. As for Jordan, Pye and DuPree, Pope and the others you seem to want to attack, how about give us your police experience so we can compare it to the 100 years experience they have as a whole.

You are reason this blog thing is a discredit to reporting and any real professional newspaper as a whole. You hide behind a blog name and strike out at anyone you feel like. How about put you name on what you write. Everyone you slander had the guts to put their name on what they said, did or wrote. So you should do the same. What's the matter no GUTS ?

Well I know who you really are. Yes indeed I do Smiling In the legal world what we call you is a "Sexual Intellectual". Now I know you are not smart enough to figure that out so I will tell you that it is 4 words, the last 3 words being "know it all".

Ok Blasmati the game is up for you. On Monday morning I am going to call all the people you slandered and tell them who you are and your address and phone number. I have had enough of you and you self rightist drivel.

Basmati's picture
Submitted by Basmati on Fri, 09/08/2006 - 5:24am.

I thought you were gonna do something about me? Call your buddies and give 'em my name and address and phone number and stuff?

It's been, what, two weeks now?

Big talker, aren't ya?

Submitted by thebiggun on Fri, 09/08/2006 - 6:04am.

They have your name Smiling

Submitted by IMNSHO on Sat, 08/26/2006 - 2:08pm.

You have so much screwed up in your post, that to respond to it all would take more time and effort than I have. So I'll just choose 2 things:

It's Sheriff Johnson, not Cunningham. And if you really knew what you were talking about, if you really knew him, you would know you are wrong about him.

And then there's this: Likewise, Detective Tommy Pope commenting about Kittrell complaining about being bullied all the time. Notably absent was what exactly former school resource officer Pope did about all these complaints.

You obviously have no idea what the job of a SRO is. Because Lieutenant (not Detective) Pope, like all the SRO's, is limited in his actions/reactions by what the administration wants to do. When a kid tells an SRO that he is being bullied, the SRO tells the administration, and they are supposed to handle it. So what exactly did Lt. Pope do about "all" the complaints? EXACTLY what he was supposed to.

Basmati's picture
Submitted by Basmati on Sat, 08/26/2006 - 8:06pm.

You are right, I obviously don't have any idea what the job of a School Resource Officer is. I mistakenly believed that, at a minimum, they could use the awesome power conferred upon them by the state of Georgia (the same power that lets them go on drug busts in Gwinnett County) to investigate allegations of assault (bullying) on Fayette County public school grounds.

If what you are saying is true, and you appear to be an honest if somewhat inarticulate man, that a deputy sheriff/school resource officer is limited in his (or her) actions solely because they are on school grounds, than I submit to you that these SROs are little more than glorified messenger boys (or girls) that carry messages from students to school administrators.

If that is truly the case, that they are little more than "window dressing" on school property to provide the illusion of police protection, then that's a travesty and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

P.S. As far as Pope's title, he was referred to as Detective Pope in the Kittrell article. Take it up with John Munford.

Submitted by bladderq on Mon, 08/28/2006 - 10:54am.

I still have the score on the Sheriff's copter as 0 to 4. The perps are ahead at this point.
Maybe when the PTCPD gets its drug squad up and running they can use the money forfeited from the kids to buy their own copter to patrol the cart path.

Submitted by dopplerobserver on Mon, 08/28/2006 - 11:55am.

Too expensive, especially at night with the big search lights shining. Would seem that the UN black hallocoopoterrs would be after us. I suggest that we build watch towers, like the old fire towers, manned or womaned, day and night by the cops who screwed up the most last month! They could have a porta-potty, a george foreman, and a gas refrigerator in the tower. They could have one of those blasters, like the riverdale guys have in their low riders, on the tower. That would scare the h... out of perps. Infra-red photography wouild gether the evi-dense. Beats any plan I have heard!

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