ROSWELL, Ga. — The City of Roswell commissioned an audit of its police department by an outside agency in 2018 as a direct result of 11Alive's investigations.
The long-awaited report has been released and is published in full below. The overwhelmingly-positive 182-page audit did not directly address the incidents we uncovered that resulted in terminations and criminal investigations of Roswell officers.
► READ | Roswell Police outside audit
The Reveal has obtained the exit interview of the longtime Roswell Police Public Information Officer, Lisa Holland, who retired in May. Officer Holland’s letter to the city administrator describes a police department led by “fear and intimidation,” echoed by one of the few critical sections of the audit. The section referred to a low-level of morale, saying "fear is viewed as a common means of control of officers."
The Reveal investigative team is currently reviewing the audit report as part of our ongoing investigation and will have an in-depth analysis of the full 185-page report soon.
The audit was released the week Brendan Keefe earned a national Murrow and multiple Emmy Awards for his multi-part investigation into the Roswell Police Department and the handful of concerning incidents.
Three Roswell officers were fired and a fourth resigned after The Reveal investigation.
The department now has a new acting chief of police after Rusty Grant resigned amid our investigation.
Two of the officers were fired after 11Alive Investigators uncovered body camera video showing the officers using a ‘coin flip’ app when deciding to arrest a driver for speeding. One of those now-former officers, Courtney Brown, blamed her termination on the international media coverage of the incident that followed our reporting. Brown said she had already received punishment in the form of verbal counseling.
A separate incident involving an officer refusing to respond to a scene of fellow officers in need, led to his firing. That came after The Reveal investigation into Officer Brad Hill and how he was the closest to the scene of officers trying to save a dying suspect, but Hill's patrol vehicle didn't move.
“One of the worst things a police officer can do is not help out another police officer,” Hill’s lieutenant, Bernie Holland, said in an internal affairs interview.
Officer Hill told internal affairs investigators that he did not respond for a number of reasons including that he was already under investigation because of another case 11Alive Investigators followed -- the intentional freezing of a 13-year-old boy, to get him to talk.
The sergeant on the scene, Daniel Elzey, rolled down the windows of the patrol vehicle in January as the soaking wet teen sat in the back. Officer Hill and another officer on the scene noted that the boy was special needs, calling him "24", the Roswell Police code for "emotionally disturbed."
Three months later, the sergeant was rewarded with "Supervisor of the Year". After 11Alive requested the video of the January incident through the open records act, Sgt. Elzey was demoted to patrol officer and given a 30-day suspension.
Another incident uncovered by The Reveal was the attack on a teen suspect by a police K9 despite multiple commands from his Roswell Police handler to stop. Police commanders initially wrote they had no problem with the dog’s training or behavior.
Yet another incident was uncovered when The Reveal fought to get multiple camera views of an off-duty Roswell police officer suspected of DUI. Officer Daniel Ralmunno admitted to officers that he had been drinking before getting behind the wheel.
Roswell let him go and parked his car because "the two passengers … were also intoxicated," according to an internal memo and audio the police originally hid from our investigators.
The city of Roswell asked for the audit as a result of our investigations.
The Reveal Investigator Brendan Keefe is digging deeper into the 182-page report and will have more analysis to come.
The Reveal is an investigative show exposing inequality, injustice, and ineptitude created by people in power throughout Georgia and across the country. It airs Sunday nights at 6 on 11Alive.