Glynn County’s police chief, two department members and a former chief of staff now serving as Vidalia’s chief were indicted Friday on multiple violations, according to county officials.
Glynn County Police Chief John Powell has been placed on administrative leave with pay after he and three other officers were indicted Friday on multiple violations of oath charges, according to the County Commission.
Charges are also filed against Glynn County Officers David Hassler and David Matthew Haney, as well as Brian Scott, who left the department to become Vidalia’s police chief, according to news partner First Coast News.
A Glynn County grand jury issued a bill of indictment against Powell on four oath of office violation charges, two more of influencing a witness charges and one for criminal intent to commit a felony charge, the commission said.
The commission’s statement on Powell’s administrative leave called it “an unfortunate situation.”
“But we feel confident that the facts will come to light during this process,” the statement said. “The Glynn County Police Department will continue to operate and keep the community safe. We will work diligently to restore public confidence in the department by continuing the work that Chief Powell has done to rectify issues identified by the International Association of Chiefs Police management audit we received in September of 2018.”
All four face charges stemming from actions involving the now-disbanded Glynn-Brunswick Narcotics Enforcement Team, First Coast News said. That task force was disbanded after an internal affairs investigation revealed inappropriate behavior by officers, including having sex with confidential informants.
Hassler was the captain and commander of the enforcement team and faces seven charges, including violation of oath, making a false statement and perjury, according to court documents. Haney was a sergeant with the Police Department and the enforcement team and also faces charges of violation of oath and perjury.
Scott, also a department sergeant and chief of staff, faces four charges including violation of oath, influencing a witness and criminal intent to commit a felony, according to court documents. Vidalia police officials told The Times-Union that no decision had been made as of Friday afternoon regarding Scott’s status as chief.
An internal affairs investigation was launched a year ago into the task force after Glynn County police learned of inappropriate behavior by a former drug task force investigator, First Coast News said.
The County Commission said it is common practice to place an employee on leave with pay until criminal charges are ruled on in court. But as of Friday, Glynn County Emergency Management Director Jay Wiggins was named interim police chief, the commission saying the choice was made based on his experience “at every level of the Glynn County Police Department.”
Wiggins started in 1993 as a uniformed patrol officer and rose to captain before transitioning to the Emergency Management Agency in 2008.
Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549