Avondale Police Chief retires, accreditation manager resigns after department fails to receive certificationAn Avondale Estates Police Car. Source: City of Avondale Estates, GA
This story has been updated.
Avondale Estates, GA — A failure to obtain accreditation has shaken up Avondale Estates’ Police Department.
On Sept. 20, the city announced that Police Chief Lynn Thomas is retiring and City Manager Patrick Bryant has accepted the resignation of the department’s accreditation manager. The announcement came after the city announced that the city’s police department did not receive certification of accreditation from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.
The city also released the final report from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Georgia law enforcement certification on-site assessment. Assessment Team Leader Valerie Johnson said in the report that she would feel “irresponsible recommending certification for the agency, based on the number of compliance issues and the amount of work still needing to be done to bring the agency’s policies up to standard.”
The assessment summary states that the assessment team met with Avondale Police’s accreditation manager Lt. Duanne Thompson, Chief of Police Lynn Thomas and Deputy Chief Capt. Paul Conroy, as well as other personnel. During the first day of the assessment, “50 files were sent back for repair, due to an overwhelming lack of documentation,” the report states.
The review took place on Aug. 9-10. The assessment team educated the department about each compliance issue and worked with the accreditation manager to find solutions for the documentation.
“The Assessment team’s communication of these issues to the Certification Manager was met with indifference or sarcasm, as well as comments that the Mock team had not identified these issues as problematic,” the reports says.
Some corrections were made, although during the second day of the assessment, the team expressed concerns regarding the department’s progress. At about 3 p.m. on Aug. 10, the assessment team stopped the assessment.
“There were still over 30 files out for repair, and the Assessment team had not been able to review 100% of the compliance files,” the report states. “The inability of the agency to repair files in a timely manner, in conjunction with what appeared to be an apathetic attitude toward the Certification process by the Certification Manager contributed to the decision to end the assessment.”
The city initiated the accreditation process amid calls for an independent, third party review of the police department and calls to adopt the 21st Century Policing Implementation Guide. The City Commission began conversations about evaluating the police department’s policies and procedures in June 2020.
According to the announcement from the city, officials on Sept. 16 got word that the police department did not get the certification of accreditation from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.
“Accreditation has been identified as a top priority of the city to ensure the city’s police department is operating with the highest standards deemed essential for the efficient and effective operation of law enforcement agencies,” the announcement from the city says. “The city remains steadfast in its commitment to the community’s well-being and safety and will continue to pursue accreditation. Additionally, the city will explore enlisting a third-party expert to review all police standard operating procedures. The city’s police chief has announced his retirement, and City Manager Patrick Bryant has accepted the resignation of the police accreditation manager. Capt. Paul Conroy, a long-time veteran of the city’s police department, will assume the role of Acting Chief of Police effective immediately.”
Reporter Zoe Seiler contributed to this article.
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