ALBANY — Late last month, the Dougherty County School Board received a 90-page report assessing the effectiveness of the district’s school police. System officials and DCSSPD Chief Troy Conley are currently working to implement the report’s 32 recommendations — the vast majority of which are administrative in nature.
In mid-June, citing concerns from staff and some board members, DCSS Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely asked former Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Gary Rothwell and a team of former police officers to conduct an assessment of the department — with Conley and Assistant Chief J.C. Phillips at the center of that assessment.
Over a span of several weeks, the assessment team interviewed Conley and Phillips, all seven Board members, DCSS attorney Tommy Coleman, 16 of the department’s 22 full-time officers, District Attorney Greg Edwards, Albany Police Chief John Proctor, Dougherty County Police Chief Jackie Battle, Dougherty Sheriff Kevin Sproul and former DCSS Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Goseer, among others.
“Some of the reports recommendations had already been implemented, like the purchase of bullet-proof vests and new radios for the department,” Mosely said. “I asked Troy to read over the report, digest it get with (DCSS Administrative Assistant) Jack (Willis) and see if improvements can be made immediately.”
Willis said Friday that he and Conley had met more than a week ago to discuss changes in the department.
“I asked Chief Conley to look at the report’s 32 recommendations and come up with eight or nine that he thought could be implemented now, and I would do the same” Willis said. “Then we’d get together and see how our lists matched up. We met for two hours earlier this week and we had several matched. For instance, the need for an administrative assistant at police headquarters, the need to reorganize the department’s rank structure and the need to announce officers’ school assignments in a timely fashion.”
Willis said there were minor issues like with the new administrative position.
“(Conley) wants a certified police officer for that job and we think a secretary could handle it,” Willis said.
The biggest issue in the report were alleged morale problems stemming from “a command management style perceived as autocratic and retaliatory to officers who either voiced or filed complaints.” The team also recommended splitting Phillips’ current role as assistant chief and chief investigator, something Conley is reportedly not keen to do.
“I want to say that J.C.’s job is not in jeopardy,” Willis said. “But we may recommend to the Board an adjustment in his job description.”
The report also listed strengths of the department citing, “DCSS police personnel are experienced and competent performing unique law enforcement and security functions in school settings.”