Clayton police chief criticizes sheriff for hiring fired officers

by: Tom Jones Updated:

Clayton County Police Chief Greg Porter.

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough is firing back after the county police chief wrote a scathing letter criticizing his hiring of officers the chief has fired.

Greg Porter wrote the letter to Clayton County Chairman Eldrin Bell.

In it, the chief says "in his 26 years as a peace officer he has never witnessed such irresponsible acts by a law enforcement official."

Porter goes on to refer to Kimbrough's "questionable judgment and borderline unethical tactics."

Channel 2's Tom Jones showed the letter to Kimbrough who said he hadn't seen it prior to that.

"I mean I'm shocked. I'm shocked to read this letter," Kimbrough said. "You know that's his choice of words. Out of respect, that's not something that I would ever say about Chief Porter."

Kimbrough recently hired three officers Porter fired. In the letter, Porter said the officers violated a citizen's civil rights and violated other departmental policies. Porter said Kimbrough never came by the department to check the officer's files.

The sheriff said that's not true.

"I did read the file. I did examine all of the evidence." Kimbrough said.

Kimbrough told Jones he has a right to hire and fire whomever he chooses.

"I felt like based on the investment Clayton County has made in these officers that putting them in a different job and a different assignment with some additional training was a sound investment," Kimbrough said.

"An officer that doesn't work out at the police department doesn't necessarily, isn't necessarily disqualified from working here at the Sheriff's Office," Kimbrough said.

Porter said in the letter hiring fired officers creates liability issues for the county. He also complained that Kimbrough keeps luring his officers by offering them guaranteed overtime.

Kimbrough said it's like the pot calling the kettle black because Porter has hired deputies he's fired.

Porter asked Chairman Eldrin Bell to look into creating an ordinance that would stop Kimbrough from hiring his fired officers.

Bell said a county attorney is looking into the issue. When reached by phone Porter said he had no comment.

Kimbrough says it's important that he and Porter work together to deal with the issues confronting the community.

He said it would have been nice if Porter had addressed these issues with him privately. "I would have appreciated a phone call," Kimbrough said.

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