Macon Police Chief defends himself against calls to resign
Macon Police Chief Mike Burns defended himself Wednesday, against calls for his resignation by people unhappy with the department's management.
The chief and other local leaders, including Macon Mayor Robert Reichert have come under severe criticism recently, after the shooting death of a reportedly unarmed man by Macon Police Officer Clayton Sutton. The case is still under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Two Macon Police Officers were also fired recently after being arrested for a string of thefts which allegedly took place while they were on patrol.
"We have, counting civilians, 400 people in the department. It's a large organization, but if we catch somebody doing something wrong we don't hesitate to fire them, I'm not going to transfer them around to different positions, they're not going to be a police officer anymore," Burns said.
Burns spoke during a press brief Wednesday before his department heads went into an annual retreat to discuss ways to improve the department. Burns says he will not be pursuing a position in the consolidated government's law enforcement agency when the city and county merge next year.
"I'm going into my ninth year as Chief, I didn't think my career was going to end this way, I'm not ready to just retire," Burns said.
Burns has not answered any questions regarding the shooting death of 49-year-old Sammie "Junebug" Davis Jr. more than a month ago, but he says it's not because he doesn't want to.
"Since we met (the) GBI, they asked us not to comment, there's a lot of things I would love to say but they're the lead investigating agency so we just can't say anything," Burns said.
As far as misinformation that was released by the department, that Officer Clayton Sutton was serving a warrant on Davis Jr., when he was shot 3 times in the chest, Burns says it was an honest mistake.
"Some of the comments that got out, we tried to please y'all, to get something to you quick, and we didn't have a chance to verify our own information, i don't think that's going to happen again," Burns said.
Since the shooting, groups of people have rallied outside Macon City Hall, calling for Burns and Macon Mayor Robert Reichert to resign. They say Sutton's disciplinary record should have raised red flags, and that the patrolman should have been pulled off the street, but Burns says people should look beyond the record when passing judgment.
"We've been very open, we don't hide disciplinary records, if we did we could take the complaints that were not sustained out of a record, we could take if they're late for court out of the record, all those add to the charges and just put exactly what they were found guilty of, and if you do that, you really don't have much of a record," Burns said.
There's one statistic burns says people should take notice of, and he hopes it's what he's judged on, wherever he applies to next.
"I'll stand on my record we've reduced crime every year since I've been chief," Burns said.