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Avondale Estates to discuss police department during special called meeting

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Avondale Estates to discuss police department during special called meeting

From http://www.avondaleestates.org/

Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Estates City Commission will meet on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 5:30 p.m. for a special called meeting to discuss the next steps for the city’s police department. The City Commission meeting will be held via Zoom.

To join the meeting via Zoom, click here. To join the meeting via phone, dial 301.715.8592 and use webinar ID: 838 7197 5072.

To view the meeting agendas, click here.

Following the news that the department did not receive accreditation through the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, the city manager will provide an update on staff efforts to recruit a new police chief and to hire a third-party consultant to review the police department’s operations.

On Sept. 20, the city announced the department did not receive the accreditation. The scathing report produced as a result of the failed accreditation attempt led to the retirement of the police chief and resignation of the police department’s accreditation manager, Decaturish previously reported.

“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.”

Capt. Paul Conroy, a long-time veteran of the Avondale Estates Police Department, is serving as the acting chief of police.

Assessment Team Leader Valerie Johnson said in the report that she would feel “irresponsible recommending certification for the [Avondale Estates Police Department], 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 report stated that 50 compliance files needed to be corrected due to an overwhelming lack of documentation on the first day of the assessment. By the second day, 30 files still needed to be fixed.

The report also highlighted compliance issues with the department’s property and evidence areas, saying they were not properly secured. One issue highlighted was that three out of four walls of the evidence storage room were made of sheetrock and could potentially be easily penetrated.

The assessment team recommended the department reinforce the walls of the room with chain link or some other caging to add an extra layer of protection. The accreditation manager rejected that suggestion, the report says.

At the Sept. 22 City Commission meeting, Mayor Jonathan Elmore outlined the city’s next steps, which include hiring a qualified third-party consultant to review the police department entirely, including policies and procedures, policing protocols, equipment, security protocols and staffing levels, he said.

The city will also conduct an executive search for the new police chief, the acting police chief will make corrections to the compliance files, and the city will work with GACP to secure the evidence room.

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