NEW DETAILS: Dalton Police officer charged with child molestation
"I am very angry that we're having to stop the business of policing to address this issue; I'm upset because of the behavior of one individual brings discredit on every officer in the agency," the chief said.
"We know that a charge like this can damage our reputation; can discredit the officers," Chief Parker continued. "What we would say is that we are making our full effort to co-operate with the investigation and it is in our interest and in our community's interest to see that the facts are gathered in this case and the appropriate action is taken."
Asked how the department would move forward, Chief Parker explained, "We've been in contact with every officer and detective and civilian person of our department this evening. And I'll be personally seeing those officers at roll calls over the next couple of days. Our officers know what's right and wrong, so I'll be stressing that importance and making sure they see me and hear that from me, directly. Although, I can tell you, to a person, they know the difference between right and wrong."
Of Tolbert's hiring, Chief Parker said the department uses stringent practices to look into an applicant's background that usually take quite a number of weeks. Tolbert's results showed nothing, the chief said, that would predict a charge like this. "I think the only way to handle a situation like this is to be straight-forward when something does happen," he said. "No one's perfect. Police officers sometimes do engage in misconduct. I think what makes the difference is how the agency responds to that; how we handle it after the fact. In addition to that, the kind of safeguards we put into place to try to be as sure as we can that we're hiring the best people and that their behavior will always be the way it should be."
Chief Jason Parker said he was unable to comment on the facts of the case. We have reached out to the GBI. Daniel Tolbert is on administrative leave from the Dalton Police Department. The city is moving forward to immediately terminate his employment.
Dalton Police officer Daniel Tolbert was placed on administrative leave December 5, 2014 by the Dalton Police departing following a report from the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) that Tolbert was being investigated on child molestation. Tolbert as arrested by the GBI Thursday, December 18th.
Tolbert has been with the Dalton Police Department for three months. At the time of his suspension, Tolbert was still in the department's field training program. Because of his status as a trainee, Tolbert was never unsupervised or alone while on duty as a Dalton officer. Probationary trainees ride with an experienced training officer for three phases of field training for at least four months after completing the police academy.
While Tolbert is on administrative leave, the city will begin the process of his termination immediately.
“I am very disappointed to hear about this allegation, and upset about the discredit this will surely bring on our department, and officers,” said Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker. “We would never condone or support the kind of behavior that would warrant this charge….the men and women of this department hold ourselves to a very high standard of behavior, and we know the community we serve expects our behavior to be beyond reproach
Channel 3 has confirmed a Dalton Police officer has been arrested on suspicion of child molestation. The GBI is handling the investigation and more details will be released at a news conference later tonight.