County assisting West Point with police coverage

Published 10:30 am Saturday, August 13, 2022

With five officers on administrative leave and the soon-to-be-departure of its police chief, the City of West Point will receive assistance from the Troup County Sheriff’s Office to ensure it still has enough law enforcement to cover the city.

City Manager Ed Moon said the city has enough officers to cover West Point, but he’s preparing for any absences the city might face.

“We’ve got enough officers to cover the city but if we have somebody that calls out sick or anything else happens we might have an issue,” Moon said. “We don’t want folks to get burned out either. So, starting in the next few days, we’re going to start bringing in some deputies to help us with the day to day operations.”

The city budgets for 19 certified officers and four civilians, according to Moon.

Five officers are currently on administrative leave after a video surfaced where one officer threw a resident’s security camera. Police Chief Donald Britt had also announced his resignation, in a letter dated Aug. 3 — before the security camera incident — and will work his last day on Aug. 24.

In the video, posted by Tomeshia James Madden, two officers appear to be in a resident’s yard. They are heard talking, though the exact verbiage is not clear on the video. A third person is also heard. Then one appears to throw something — which Madden identified as a camera — across the yard and into the bushes.

A second camera recording the officers is angled just above them.

The officers have been identified as Officer Donald Bramblett, Officer Dylan Harmon, Officer Zachary Heyboer, Sgt. William Osteen and Detective Elizabeth Wegienka, according to public information office Cedarious Thomas.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is handling the investigation but said there has been no updates to release.

According to the agreement, which was expected to be signed by all parties Friday, West Point will pay the county $45 an hour for deputies to work in the city. In addition, the city will pay the county $0.625 per mile.

Troup County Manager Eric Mosley said the deputies working in West Point would be using overtime hours to handle the extra patrols. He said the sheriff’s office wouldn’t be taking anyone off normal duty.

“They’re deputies who are working this as an overtime assignment, not ones who would be elsewhere, so we’re not we’re not diminishing our force,” Mosley said. “We’re plugging people in who have off time, so they’re working overtime, like if they were working at the movie theater or working at Walmart. These officers are off duty and are serving basically in an overtime assignment.”

The agreement doesn’t outline the total number of deputies per shift, but it does say at least one per shift. Moon said those specifics will be worked out between the two departments.

“Our goal is to have an officer serving in West Point, at least at least one per shift, as long as they need it,” Mosley said.