All Griffin Police Department CAGE Unit officers temporarily reassigned to other divisions

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Griffin Police Department Chief Mike Yates has temporarily reassigned all members of the Criminal Apprehension and Gang Enforcement (CAGE) Unit to other divisions.

Yates’ internal memorandum – identified as a special order – said the temporary reassignments would be effective Jan. 8, 2023.

A sweeping operational assessment of the Griffin Police Department to be conducted by the Law Enforcement Risk Management Group, a Rhode Island company, was scheduled to begin in early January and is contractually required to be completed within 30 days.

(Click here to read more about the GPD operational assessment. This article continues below link.)

BoC vote and contract to conduct Griffin PD operational assessment cloaked in secrecy


Yates’ special order cited several bases for his temporary reassignment of all CAGE Unit officers.

“These changes are necessary for the coverage of Municipal Court and to cover for the absences of personnel from CID and Recruiting and Background due to their attendance in polygraph training,” Yates said. “The changes are also intended to support Uniformed Patrol Operations. It is anticipated that this assignment will last 90 days but may be adjusted depending on need.”

When asked about the status of the operational assessment – if it was underway and if so, when it began – Yates claimed he was unaware if the team of assessors had arrived in Griffin and whether they were working inside his agency reviewing records, interviewing and doing ride-alongs with officers and evaluating policies and procedures among other activities.

“I am not sure…you will need to ask (City Attorney) Drew Whalen about that,” Yates said.

The GRIP then submitted by email a list of questions related to the temporary reassignment of CAGE Unit officers, but Yates did not respond. Those questions, which Yates has required in writing from The GRIP for several years, were as follows:

With these temporary transfers, the GPD has no narcotic or gang unit. What is the status of all SIU/CAGE Unit investigations that were in progress?

Why were these temporary transfers made now, in January, at the same time an operational assessment of your agency was scheduled to begin?

How will these temporary transfers affect that operational assessment?

According to City Manager Jessica O’Connor, a news report related to a strip search conducted by CAGE Unit officers was the catalyst for this operational assessment. How can the CAGE Unit be assessed if it’s not functioning as a unit?

Were similar temporary transfers made in 2021 when there was a significant increase in violent crime, specifically aggravated assaults and drive-by shootings in the city?

According to a January 2021 GPD press release, “The Criminal Investigation Division of the Griffin Police Department has partnered with the C.A.G.E. Unit to address every gang-related shooting, aggravated assault, and homicide to address the on-going issues of violence with marked success (sic all).”
Why was it necessary to temporarily transfer CAGE Unit officers now when the previous partnership was so effective?

Were similar temporary transfers made in August 2022 when there were eight vacancies in the Uniform Patrol Division as opposed to seven – one less – in December 2022?

Were these temporary assignments a deliberate attempt to prevent assessment of the CAGE Unit?

Is this merely a temporary measure that will be reversed after the operational assessment has been completed?

Although Yates did not respond to The GRIP’s questions, City Manager Jessica O’Connor did.

“I have been forwarded most of your questions to Chief Yates throughout the last few days and am copied on all of the ORRs that have been submitted,” she said. “As required by law, we will make sure to answer the ORRs that we are able to in a timely manner; however, staff has been instructed by legal counsel to not respond to any further communications or questions related to the operational assessment or temporary assignments.”

The GRIP then asked O’Connor the following questions:

From which legal counsel was that advice received?

If the transfers aren’t related to the operational assessment, why can those questions not be answered?

Can you say whether the operational assessment has started?

O’Connor did not respond.

Lt. Kaylen Kreuger is now reporting to the Office of the Chief and has assumed recruiting and background duties; Sgt. Theodore Manolis assumed duties on A-Shift in the Uniform Patrol Division; Officer Alyssa Hanson, MPO Josh Holley and Officer Kalib Daniel are reporting to the Uniform Patrol Division shift commander on duty as they work varied split shifts from noon to midnight; and Officer Phillip Johnson and Officer Christopher Conaway now report to Lt. John Hayes in the Criminal Investigation Division.

Yates said changes to those assignments and schedules will be made as needed “to facilitate training and operations.”

Sgt. John Kelton, another recent CAGE Unit supervisor, has been assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division A-Shift since at least late December, but that change was not included in Yates’ special order.

Griffin City Manager Jessica O’Connor has said the most recent catalyst for this operational assessment was a November 2022 televised report of a public roadside strip search conducted by CAGE Unit officers in August 2021.

Officials were aware of that CAGE Unit strip search as early as December 2021 when an ante litem notice related to that incident was served on the city of Griffin by Atlanta attorney Mark Bullman.

The strip search incident was never investigated and none of the officers involved received disciplinary action.

Please consider financially supporting The GRIP.
The news you find in The GRIP is free for all. You’ll never be hindered by a paywall or limited to only a few articles each month. That’s because knowledge CANNOT be a commodity available only to those with the ability to purchase it.
While the news will always be free for all, it is far from free to produce. That’s why The GRIP needs your support.
Your support will enable The GRIP to continue to provide relevant news in your community and beyond. It’s quick and painless. Just click this link: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=16902623
All support will be greatly appreciated, whether a small one-time donation or recurring monthly gift.
Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: