Councilmen at odds with police chief’s drug initiative
by Celia Shortt
The two Grantville City Council members who voted to suspend Police Chief Doug Jordan said it was because he spoke for the city while in uniform without getting permission from the city manager, not because he visited “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio while on his vacation.
Both Councilmen Johnny Cooks and Barham Lundy also questioned the need for a drug program in their city, and Lundy said he wants to disband the police department.
“What I have a problem with is the Grantville uniform speaking on behalf of the programs that the city is initiating,” said Cooks. “There is no plan.”
“I think what Chief Jordan has done is a slap in the face to [Coweta County] Sheriff Mike Yeager in his work to stop the flow of drugs into this city,” said Lundy. “Although he (Jordan) was on vacation, he was representing the city of Grantville — in something we didn’t know about — because he had on the uniform,” he added. “If he had been in civilian clothes, it would have been different.”
Chief Jordan does not agree.
“It’s a lie,” said Jordan. “I mentioned in my article training was free. They never gave me a chance to even talk about it. Their agenda is to fire me for my hard stance on drugs.”
Both Cooks and Lundy do not see a drug problem in the city of Grantville.
“Those kinds of problems do not exist here,” said Cooks. “The city does not have that type of crime. The biggest crime we have in Grantville is rolling up our stop signs and my dog sitting in the front yard without a leash.”
“We don’t need our officers on the interstate. We need them on our streets,” said Lundy. “A drug problem is not there.”
Cooks is not against training for the police department, but he is against it being done in Arizona.
“If we’re going to send them anywhere for this training, it will be in Georgia,” said Cooks. “Whatever training we do will be done with the competent people in our state who deal with public safety. There is no need for us to train in Arizona. It’s an insult to us, to Grantville, to Coweta, and to Georgia.”
Lundy believes that if Chief Jordan wanted training opportunities, he should have gone to Sheriff Yeager.
“If he wanted to get some pointers, then he should have gone to Sheriff Yeager, not Arizona,” said Lundy.
“I think our county’s sheriff’s department is very competent,” added Cooks.
Both Lundy and Cooks supported City Manager Johnny Williams’ actions to recommend the suspension.
“I’ve had some disagreements with the city manager, but he is stepping up to the plate now,” said Cooks. “Johnny Williams is making the kind of decisions I expected of him when I hired him.”
“The city manager didn’t want to fire him (Jordan),” said Lundy. “So, he had to find a common ground. I went with the city manager’s recommendation.
“If it had been up to me, I would have fired him for what he’d done,” he added.
According to Cooks, the city manager’s job was not threatened had he not suspended Chief Jordan.
“The city manager’s job was not in jeopardy,” said Cooks. “No city council member has that authority.”
Williams was the one who informed city council about Chief Jordan’s comments about the training and verbally reprimanded him before the council voted to suspend him.
“The city manager informed all the city council about the first article,” said Cooks. “He wasn’t happy about it, and he had problems with it — that it was not under the city manager’s guidelines. He requested to have a discussion about it at the next meeting.”
Rather than additional training, Lundy believes the police department is taking up a lot of the city’s budget and should be eliminated.
“I think we should disband it and have the county take over,” he said. “I think Sheriff Yeager could do a better job than what we have now.”
“I think the county should police the city,” he added. “We are already paying the county, so I think we should take advantage of it.”
Chief Jordan does not agree with Lundy on this matter either.
“Mr. Lundy is an older gentleman who is not in touch with today's problems and Grantville’s drug problems,” said Jordan. That (clean up the drug problem) is what I’m trying to do.”
In the midst of this situation, others want council to move on.
“I would like to put this behind us and move forward,” said Grantville City Council Member Selma Coty. “Both the city manager and our chief are fine men and serve our city well, and it is my opinion that the council should support them unless and until there is a violation of the city charter or our ordinances, which are the laws for the city.”