Lott reduces police officer's suspension

ALBANY, Ga. -- An appeal to the Albany city manager led him to reduce a disciplinary suspension from 30 days to five days for Albany Police Department's Capt. Ernest Williams.

Despite stating that "the severity of your infractions warrants strong disciplinary action" in a letter to Williams, City Manager Alfred Lott reduced an unpaid 30-day probation to five days.

Citing Williams's more than 30 years on the police force making the city a "safer community" and his "relatively unblemished record," Lott said, "I have decided to reduce your suspension."

Police Chief John Proctor had proposed the 30-day unpaid suspension for Williams to Lott. Williams appealed that suspension.

Proctor did not immediately return a request for comment on the sharp reduction of the punishment.

Williams was suspended for "mishandling of city documents," said Wes Smith, assistant city manager.

The documents, apparently thrown out with trash near Williams's home in March, listed names of Albany police officers, along with their Social Security numbers and other sensitive information.

Lott decried the infractions, calling the incident an example of "unacceptable performance" by a senior police officer. In closing his letter, Lott spelled out what future infractions could entail.

"I must admonish you (Williams) that you are expected to meet or exceed assigned performance standards in the future," Lott wrote. "Failure to do so could result in further disciplinary actions, including termination."

Williams did not return a request for comment left on his office answering machine.