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Committee Asks Why Most Macon Police Don't Carry Tasers | News

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Committee Asks Why Most Macon Police Don't Carry Tasers
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A Macon City Council committee on Monday pressed Captain Jimmy Barbee of Internal Affairs for more information about the Police Department's "Early Warning System," which handles discipline of officers.

Committee members also questioned Barbee on why officers might use deadly force rather than Tasers. 

Councilman Virgil Watkins says today's meeting was similar to discussions this past fall about Internal Affairs procedures. But with December's fatal Kroger shooting where Officer Clayton Sutton killed 49-year-old Sammie Davis, Jr., the issue has come back into the spotlight.

The Early Warning System is supposed to flag officers after a certain amount of infractions, specifically more than four in a six-month period. Sutton meets that criteria, having had infractions in April, June, July, and August of 2012.

"We do have, honestly--we do have a problem in terms of disciplining some of our young officers. Even though our statistics support the concept that it's a very small number of officers that are creating this trouble for us as an overall city. That old saying that one rotten apple spoils the bunch is infinitely true," Watkins says.

Barbee told the council that only SWAT team members have Tasers because of a budgetary issues. 

That let some council members to call for the Police Department to invest in more officers having Tasers.

Another issue council members raised was the fact that the disciplinary boards which cover an officer's conduct in Internal Affairs are made up of all fellow officers.

When questioned, Barbee defended the process, but Councilman Henry Gibson, a former Macon police officer, suggested there should be more public input and that having police judged by other officers doesn't give the public "a fair shake."


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