HENRY COUNTY, Ga. - Henry County Police Chief Keith Nichols says his department is moving forward following an embarrassing internal investigation.
"I take any allegations very seriously, as does my
staff. We dealt with it, we didn't sweep it under the rug," Nichols told Channel 2's Rachel Stockman.
Henry County police officers were disciplined on Sept. 5 for misconduct on and off the job.
"The three supervisors were demoted and three officers were terminated," said Maj. Jason Bolton with the Henry County Police Department.
The discipline comes after a lengthy internal-affairs investigation.
"I was extremely
disappointed, and I was disappointed because I had a lot of confidence in a lot of these officers, but especially the sergeants," Nichols said.
"I want to stress that there is nothing criminal as far as the investigation, no allegations of criminal
activity; it is all simply conduct issues," Bolton said.
The department can not reveal specifics of what the alleged misconduct entailed because two of the officers have appealed the decision. Sources tell Stockman that the allegations surround one female officer and relationships she had with four officers — both on and off duty. The
internal-affairs investigation was lengthy, and involved several different incidents over a two-year span, according to police.
"A lot of it was not onduty. There was a small part that was on duty, " Nichols said.
Five male officers and one female officer received discipline. Five of them range in time from
two years to four years with the department. One is a 16-year veteran.
"Several of these individuals are very well-liked, well thought of by their peers," Bolton said.
The internal investigation found that some of the officers violated a policy which says, "Employees will not act in an official or private capacity in such a manner as to bring discredit upon the Department or upon themselves. Such conduct is unbecoming and prohibited."
Nichols said following the
incidents, his department is re-examining policies regarding romantic relationships between employees.
"Right now, the only policy is the county policy, which is that they must be divulged," Nichols said.
"I took the action, I took action not because I like making those tough decisions but for the citizens," Nichols said. "We have a lot of good officers that are doing the right thing, but unfortunately, we often highlight ones that are not doing the right thing."