Citizens not surprised by SCMPD report findings - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Citizens not surprised by SCMPD report findings

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Who is policing the police, and what does that mean for your safety?

Concerned citizens said that nothing in the report came as a surprise, with some even questioning why the report was drafted at all. 

"We don't need another report to know that management of our department is seriously dysfunctional and needs to be changed and improved," said Rolfe Glover, a member of the mayor's Public Safety Task Force.

"The problems for those of us who have been around the block a long time were very obvious, and now they've just been confirmed," said Virginia Mobley. Mobley was interviewed by outside investigators.

The report describes an Internal Affairs Dept. that wasn't fair at all, with command staff withholding files and distributing inappropriate and inconsistent discipline.

That led to eroding moral and contributed to a third of the department, more than 200 officers, quitting or retiring within just two years.

"You can have a well trained, seasoned officer, but if he is new to the street and he doesn't know what's going on on the street, you're a step behind," said Mobley.

Mobley heads up her Thomas Square Neighborhood Association. She's been a citizen advisor for the police department for decades, and she was interviewed by the Virginia based firm Murray Daniels Burke International for the report they submitted to the Savannah City Council on Thursday.

She said former chief Willie Lovett's administration eroded the public's trust.

"We're back to where we were in the 70s and 80s, and I hate to say that," said Mobley.

Glover, who headed up the mayor's Public Safety Task Force and was influential in the choice of Lovett's predecessor, former chief Michael Berkow, said Savannah's next chief should come from outside the department.

"We need leadership that knows how to deal with a broken police department and has had experience turning around a police department," Glover said.

Mobley isn't so sure. She's also been instrumental in choosing chiefs and points out that Berkow came with baggage, most notably, sexual harassment allegations that followed him from Los Angeles. Allegations not unlike those plaguing Lovett right now.

"The trust on the community's side, the police officers' side, and those wanting to be police officers has all got to be built," said Mobley. "That's been eroded."

Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter has said she wants a new chief chosen by September and will consider both internal and external candidates for the position.

Former chief Lovett could not be reached for his take on the report.

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