Friday, March 19, 2004
Crawford resigns Fairburn Police Department amid controversy
By LINDSAY BIANCHI
A case of he said, she said is being blamed for the resignation of Major Daniel Crawford of the Fairburn Police Department. Crawford, who registered a charge of discrimination with the city of Fairburn on March 5 of this year, asserts that because of his involvement in an internal investigation concerning two fellow police officers, he was retaliated against.
The South Fulton Citizen obtained a copy of Crawfords personnel record through the Open Records Act and discovered some of the reasons for Crawfords abrupt exit from the police department.
The investigation concerned allegations made by Officer Mary Louise Tallman regarding the behavior of Officer James Smith. Tallman filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission citing discriminatory treatment by Smith. Soon after the investigation concluded, Crawford was asked to resign.
Crawford handed in his resignation on Feb. 28 stating in it that it was with deep regret and under duress that [he] must resign from the Fairburn Police Department. He said he felt that he was being targeted for doing his job and investigating the complaint filed on behalf of Officer Tallman.
The position which Crawford held at the Fairburn Police Department had been created for him when he joined the force on March 10 of last year. Fairburns Chief of Police, Frederick Brown had previously worked with then Lieutenant Crawford at the Auburn, Ga., Police Department. Chief Browns positive experiences overseeing Crawford in Auburn led to the Lieutenant joining the Fairburn Police. Crawford was put in charge of the patrol and criminal investigation divisions.
It was the implementation of a stop division, in Fairburn that became the subject of contention among officers. The city council was not comfortable with the concept and did not want Fairburn to be known for speed traps. In addition, the reassigning of staff to cover such a scheme limited the Police Departments ability to effectively patrol the city and protect its citizens. Favoritism cropped up more than once in the officers remarks regarding the reshuffling of duties. After an extended period of squabbling, the City Council decided it was time to take action.
After their Feb. 23 meeting, the Fairburn City Council went into executive session to discuss a list of several points which related to Major Crawford. Complaints from fellow employees and allegations of unauthorized directives made within the department by Crawford were prominent on the list of reasons for termination. Crawford was given two weeks separation pay and asked to resign his post.
Crawford has been in law enforcement nearly 18 years accumulating over 1,000 hours in special training along the way. He was nominated for Officer of the Year and the Governors Public Safety Award in 2002.