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Ludowici police chief resigns
Natives claim officers harass them
Ludo CHief Richard Robertson
Chief Richard Robertson - photo by Courier file photo
After a heated Ludowici City Council meeting on Jan. 12, where the Ludowici Police Department drew complaints from life-long Long County residents, Chief Richard Robertson submitted his resignation.
During the meeting, conflicting conversation arose between Councilman Jim Fuller Jr. and Robertson, after Fuller claimed the department had been harassing his family and friends.
“As far as I’m concerned, yes there was harassment. It can be shown through the number of traffic stops made, and then there being no citations given,” Fuller said after the meeting.
Robertson denied Fuller’s accusations that Fuller and has family had been targeted.
“Absolutely not. That’s absurd. Most of the officers don’t even know who his family is. What he’s claiming is unsubstantiated simply because they wouldn’t know who they (family and friends) were when they pulled them over,” the chief said.
Several other city residents also complained about the department, claiming officers were stopping local citizens excessively.
Buddy Rozier said he was driving through town late one night, drinking a protein drink, when he was pulled over by an officer. Rozier said he was treated as if he was drinking alcohol.
He also claimed officers were harassing many locals, but not arresting teenagers who were out late selling drugs.
Robertson responded, “I don’t have pictures of people that were raised in Ludowici, and pictures to identify these drug dealers your talking about, to go out and arrest them.”
“Most of us were raised here. This is Ludowici and we like Ludowici to stay like it was,” Rozier said.
After the meeting, Robertson said, “We have a city of 1,500. The majority of the remarks about my department are always positive. I have no doubt that the vast majority of the people living in the city are satisfied with our job performance.”
On Thursday, the council voted to accept Robertson’s resignation. He had been chief since January 2008.
Regarding his time as chief, Robertson said, “All I ever tried to do was make the LPD a more professional department, and I hope the best for this city.”
In other business:  

The council put to rest the rumor that the city was withdrawing from the joint Long County/McIntosh county E-911 project, after hearing from E-911 Committee member Mike McGowan. He said the city would not be responsible for any additional funding.
Council members said they had heard the city would have to fund two employee positions, but could not afford them.
Councilman Frank McClelland Jr.  said at this point the city has no plans to withdraw from the project. The biggest concern, he said, is to determine where lost funding is going to come from to operate the city jail.
 Regarding the jail, Florence Baggs asked to be included in selling prisoner meals to the city. Baggs said she requested consideration last year, but was told she had to be in business for one year.  After a brief discussion, the council decided to continue buying the meals from Debbie’s Diner, and make no change.
The council also heard Coastal Regional Commission’s Chris Emmer explain the importance of the city completing a partial update of its comprehensive plan. After the presentation, the council decided to set a workshop with Emmer for this purpose.
Other Council members present at the meeting last week included Debbie Bolick, Gwendolyn Davis, A.A. “Zip” Billings, and Mayor Myrtice Warren.

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