Fulton County

Allegations against metro Atlanta police officer lead to her resignation

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A local police lieutenant is out of a job after several officers accused her of causing a hostile work environment.

The officers said she was stealing money and drinking on the job, among other claims. Now, the city of South Fulton has asked an outside police agency to investigate the matter.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes has learned that the Smyrna Police Department took up the investigation and has interviewed more than 20 employees for the South Fulton Police Department.

In the end, the investigation found that the main complaints were substantiated. There were several violations of department policy and possibly even criminal violations.

It all started late last year, when eight South Fulton police officers made official complaints about Lt. Shannon McKesey.

More than half of them said on the record that McKesey had created a hostile work environment because she was “terrible.”


Seven officers complained that McKesey would “drink alcohol at work,” forced others to do it with her, and claimed people “are intimidated by McKesey because of her relationship with the chief and his wife.”

At least one officer complained that McKesey mishandled money from crime scenes.

In a memo to city officials, when the HR director Niki Graham tried to launch an investigation, Graham said Councilwoman Helen Willis tried to fire her.

“It concerns me that Councilwoman Willis would ask to terminate me for doing my job,” Graham said.

The city manager, Tammy Sadler Jones, also sent a memo saying Willis accused the HR director of “meddling in police business” and that “she needs to leave the city and go to another agency.”

That’s when the city manager called for an outside police agency to investigate. Smyrna investigators spoke to more than 20 South Fulton Police Department employees.

Fernandes asked South Fulton Police Chief Keith Meadows to sit down with her for an interview, but he declined.

She also requested for an interview with Willis, but she never answered Fernandes’ request.

Willis did comment on the investigation in a previous Facebook post, saying there’s no merit to these allegations.

The Smyrna police investigation found the complaints of Sgt. Burkhart and Detective King of a hostile work environment are substantiated.

There were several substantiated violations of city of South Fulton policy, South Fulton Police Department policy and labor act violations. There is a highly probable criminal violation of theft found in this investigation.

All people in the polygraph were determined to be truthful, except McKesey.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

McKesey denied the allegations, but according to the report, a week after Smyrna released its findings on July 5, McKesey resigned in lieu of termination.

Many officers believe South Fulton Police Chief Keith Meadows should have fired her as soon as Smyrna’s report came out.

The city of South Fulton sent a statement saying that since the investigation, there have been some changes. Money will no longer be handled the way it was.

It will be counted at the scene with a money counter and sent straight to the state.

The state will then return the money with documentation.

The mayor said he is working working with Meadows to have better communication so nothing like this will happen again.