Complaints grow as Savannah police chief probes report claims - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Complaints grow as Savannah police chief probes crime report allegations

Julie Boggs Julie Boggs

The Savannah-Chatham Metro Police chief is not commenting about accusations his officers dissuaded citizens from filing police reports, but tells WTOC he is investigating.

These claims were made in public, by some city leaders, after Chief Willie Lovett had already left a city council retreat Tuesday morning. 

According to aldermen Tony Thomas and Van Johnson, they say at least a dozen residents, with the number still growing, have reported to them officers not willing to readily write up a report on crimes committed. WTOC caught up with one of those citizens, a Savannah woman who says her Ardlsey Park home was broken in to.

She says getting a report written was not easy.

"I had a ticket a few months ago because I didn't get my tags done on time and that officer spent more time with me than this cop did," Julie Boggs, Ardsley Park, told WTOC.

It was Christmas Day and Boggs says she and her fiance came home to the doors of their house wide open, the inside was ransacked and TV's and video game systems were all gone. The bride-to-be says even gifts for her bridesmaids were all stolen.

Boggs told WTOC the officer eventually and reluctantly took a report from her but it's been three weeks and no word from police. Boggs saw the crime stats report released by SCMPD last week and calls the 13 percent drop in property crime hard to believe.

A visit from a forensics expert from the police department, she says also a struggle to get from the original officer, produced no fingerprints.

She called alderman Thomas about her experience and says she found out she isn't the only one.

"I actually asked him about the report," Boggs said of the original responding officer. "He said it depended on if I had insurance. If I had insurance, I didn't need it. I felt like he was discouraging me and acted like it was wasting his time to do it."

"And then he kept trying to dissuade me still. He was like, it could be a day or two, you'll have to keep things the way they are," Boggs said of her request for a forensics officer. "I was like, just get someone here. We just got violated."

"They've been told not to file a police report by officers, for whatever reason, and I don't know who told them that," Thomas told council Tuesday afternoon.

Alderman Thomas and alderman Van Johnson both say multiple residents have told them property crimes were both discouraged, written up with resistance from officers or not written at all. Alderman Tom Bordeaux called it a witch hunt without facts to back up the claims and said the accusations bordered on slander and character assassination if not proven.

While Chief Willie Lovett investigates, Mayor Edna Jackson says a meeting of council, the chief and the city manager must happen soon.

"I just think it is really important we move forward with getting this meeting set up with the chief and also the city manager," Mayor Jackson said Tuesday. The Mayor won't return from Washington, D.C. until next Wednesday. 

A meeting is expected as soon as next Thursday between city council, Chief Lovett and city manager Stephanie Cutter.

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