Updated: Georgiana police chief resigns, seven officers follow in wake of administrative differences

Published 5:06 pm Monday, October 17, 2016

Georgiana Police Department chief David Scruggs resigned from his position Monday following “administrative differences,” according to Georgiana mayor Jerome Antone.

“Four other officers walked out with the chief,” Antone said. “No one was terminated; they all walked out. I hate that the other officers walked out with the chief.

“The Georgiana Police department will weather the storm and, thanks to the one remaining officer at the Georgiana Police Department and the immediate assistance of the Butler County Sheriff’s Department, we will move forward.”

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Scruggs said that the number of men who departed the Georgiana Police Department is a bit higher.

“The Georgiana Police Department has a total of eight department personnel,” Scruggs said. “A total of seven, including myself, walked out this morning.”

Scruggs, who has served as the Georgiana Police Department’s chief since December 2013, echoed Antone’s sentiments regarding his departure, citing conflict between the mayor’s office and police department as reasons for his exit.

“The administrative differences between the mayor’s office and the city’s police department being able to do their job without conflict from the mayor’s office is what led to me and six other police officers walking out Monday,” Scruggs continued.

“I did not ask any of the officers to support or back me in my decision to leave Monday. They told me that it was a brotherhood, and that if I resigned, they were going to do so as well.”

Scruggs added that as of Monday there has been no solution to the problem.

Butler County sheriff Kenny Harden said that he and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office are working to assist the town in the absence of its officers.

“I got a call from the mayor this morning at about 10 a.m. stating that he didn’t have any police officers,” Harden said. “I went down there and met with him, and I have deputies down there patrolling the streets of Georgiana and answering the calls. We have it worked out to where troopers are going to work any accidents that occur within the city limits until they can get things resolved.

“I will assure the citizens of Georgiana that they will not go unprotected. We will make sure that they get the help that they need.”

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office is sending two deputies to fill the void in the meantime. Harden added that though diverting resources is inconvenient, it is a necessary measure.

“It kind of takes away from us, but we are going to make sure that the protection is there, And also any calls we get in the county, we’ll be handling them too.”

Corporal Jesse Thornton with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) said that they would be responding to crash calls in Georgiana.