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GBI: No criminal investigation of RHPD

POSTED: March 9, 2017 10:32 a.m.

A Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent said Wednesday his agency’s look into the Richmond Hill Police Department will be wrapped up in about two weeks, but he was emphatic about one thing.

Nobody’s under investigation; not an officer, not the department.

"We didn’t open a criminal case at all," said Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodfrey, who works out of the GBI’s Statesboro office. "There was never an investigation. All we did was come in and review what the police chief asked us to look at because he wanted another set of eyes to look at it, and from what we’ve looked at there are no criminal violations and we don’t see any criminal charges we would pursue."

The department came under media scrutiny after the sudden retirement of one officer and resignation of two others.

Richmond Hill Police Chief Mitch Shores, who was sworn in Dec. 1 to replace longtime Chief Billy Reynolds, said he invited the GBI in to look at internal matters, but would not specify what those are. Neither has the GBI, but the words "GBI investigation" began to circulate in area media reports.

The officer who retired is Maj. Mike Albritton. Det. Doug Salhberg and Sgt. Luke Harris resigned in February. Sahlberg is party in a suit against Richmond Hill filed by the mother of a 14-year-old who committed suicide in 2011, claiming Sahlberg’s actions led to the suicide.

That case is currently before the Georgia Supreme Court, where a decision could be handed down in a few weeks. In the meantime, Bodrey said that while his work isn’t completely done, what’s left is the paperwork "to account for our time."

"But we’re pretty much done and I don’t see anything at this time that could be considered a criminal violation," Bodrey said.

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