Columbus mayor discusses July 16 incident involving police and Muscogee County Sheriff’s deputy
Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson says the partnership between the police department and sheriff’s office is a priority. This comes after WRBL reported a verbal altercation between a sheriff’s deputy and a group of police officers.
WRBL obtained hours of police bodycam video under the Georgia Open Records Act.
Henderson tells WRBL that said there has been a meeting between Sheriff Greg Countryman, Police Chief Freddie Blackmon, City Attorney Clifton Fay, and City Manager Isaiah Hugley.
The focus? Moving forward.
There was an issue with delays in booking prisoners into the jail during a crime suppression detail July 16th into the early morning hours of July 17th.
Frustrated with the delays, a police car blocked a deputy’s patrol car into the sallyport at the jail.
The man you just heard was the angry deputy telling police officers he would not help them even if they were getting beat up on the side of the road.
The mayor says there are broader issues and he’s working to resolve them.
“We are always concerned about law enforcement,” Henderson said. “We are always concerned about the level of partnership we have between our two law enforcement agencies. But I understand that both the chief and the sheriff are doing some internal discussions to try and determine if there has been any opportunities to kind of either discipline somebody or coach them up. And that will be decided by those individuals.”
The mayor is the city’s public safety director and is over the police department and other public safety agencies. The sheriff is elected countywide and does not report to anyone in the city government.
The mayor says these multi-agency crime suppression details involving the Georgia State Patrol will continue. And discussions on how to make them work more smoothly will continue.
Major crimes, including murders, are down from this time last year. Murders have seen a nearly 50 percent drop year over year. Some major crimes such as aggravated assault are on the rise.
“But we are keenly aware of the fact that if we don’t continue proactive law enforcement, proactive policing that those numbers could change over the course of a couple of weeks,” Henderson said.
There have been three crime suppression details this year with dozens of felony and DUI arrests.