Monday, March 14, 2005


Atlanta Courthouse Murders - The Duh Zone

Link Senior Superior Court Judge Philip Etheridge is quoted in the Atlanta Journal/Constitution saying allowing an armed deputy to be alone in a holding cell with a defendant who has been shown to be a high security risk is "absolutely ludicrous." He then went further stating that "there is no way that anyone could have thought Cynthia Hall would have been able to handle a situation with Brian Nichols. No bloody way." Deputy Sgt. Charles Rambo told the AJC he believes the department needs to institute fitness standards and possibly physical requirements for the hiring of personnel charged with handling high risk prisoners. It is inconceivable that these standards are not already required.

Judge Etheridge also described the security as "sloppy" and "lackadaisical." This criticism is from a judge who is in a unique position to describe the courthouse's security - he observed the procedures daily. This charge is a loaded one and a potentially damning one. It implies that there was no discipline in carrying out security procedures such as they existed. It also implies that the PERSONNEL themselves were at fault and unprofessional. No amount of procedural upgrades will correct ambivalence. Of course, when personnel are hired and promoted through politics and cronyism, temperament, merit and professionalism fall by the wayside. Anytime you have cronyism as the overriding factor in employment and job security, personnel feel that they can do as they please; because, they are protected by their connections.

Sheriff Freeman declined to go into any details on policy and procedures falling back on the usual crutch of an "investigation." Deputy Sgt. Rambo, who ran against Freeman and lost in November 2004, refused to place blame on Freeman, instead blaming judges as "uncooperative" on security issues. He obviously is well indoctrinated in the political sport of buck passing, too. Unlike Freeman's reticence, Rambo did say that current policy allows a SINGLE deputy to escort up to FOUR prisoners at a time and allows for a single deputy to enter a holding cell with a prisoner. These policies are so egregious that it calls into question the judgement of all ranking officers in the Sheriff's department. When laypeople have a "duh" moment about these issues and the brass doesn't, something is seriously wrong.

The most outrageous statement made by Sheriff Freeman to date is "IF something needs to be changed, we'll change it." IF?...DUH...

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