State investigators wrap up their probe of Jasper Police Department
by By David Lazenby
May 25, 2011 | 2160 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By DAVID LAZENBY

Daily Mountain Eagle

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation has concluded its probe into the Jasper Police Department and released to city officials its findings.

Jasper Police Chief Danny Patton said Tuesday he received a letter from the ABI that stated investigators have determined the ABI will not be able to conduct a "criminal investigation" into allegations of wrongdoing recently made against two JPD officers.

Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey requested that the ABI investigate the police department with "a wide-angle lens," on May 11, two days after Patton suspended with pay the two officers to whom the complaints pertained. Those officers were reinstated that same day after Posey met with legal counsel and determined the officers should be reinstated.

Earlier in the month, Posey said, "It was determined we had no reason at that time to suspend anyone for anything. If there are suspensions involved, that will be determined by the ABI, not by the City of Jasper."

Recently, Posey and Patton met with an ABI official who they provided with documents pertaining to the investigation, including a signed statement that accuses "certain members" of the police department with wrongdoing that could be deemed illegal.

Patton said the letter from the ABI states the documents were reviewed to determine if the alleged criminal offenses could be prosecuted. He added that the letter said many of the accusations of wrongdoing do not involve criminal activity.

Also, Patton said the letter states that the charges are based on "hearsay" and are in regard to events that took place two to five years ago.

"Basically they (the ABI) are finding no probable cause to investigate," Patton said.

Posey said on Tuesday he was not surprised by the ABI's findings.

Patton added that he plans to run the city's police department in a manner in which there are "no chances" of any illegal activity going on.

"Anytime you have serious accusations made against anyone, the best thing to do is call an outside agency to review to see if there is any probable cause to further an investigation," said Patton, who declined to reveal the identity of the police officers who had the complaints launched against them.

Marty Griffin, the assistant division chief of the ABI, said on Tuesday he is not at liberty to discuss the investigation.

Posey said on May 11 he requested an investigation of the entire JPD instead of the accused officers because it was the only way to be "fair and reasonable to everybody involved and concerned."