WAYNESBORO, Ga (WJBF)- A Waynesboro police officer is off the job. This comes after a complaint accusing two officers of nearly allowing a 7-year-old girl to be kidnapped while they were arresting her father.
After an Internal Affairs investigation into what happened during that arrest, Officer Ronald Bartlett has been suspended for 8 days without pay.
He was also placed on a 6-month probation and demoted from a promotion that took effect just days after the January 22nd incident.
Officer Bartlett’s body cam footage shows him approaching the unknown man with the child in the back seat, then later letting him go without taking his information.
Bartlett is a 30 year police veteran who said during the investigation that the stress of the situation got to him and that was why he didn’t get the man’s information.
Chundra Hendrix, the child’s mother, said she feels the punishment is just a slap on the wrist.
The entire department is also being required to retrain on how to respond to a call with a juvenile involved.
The department identified the man in the car and the case file has been submitted to the District Attorney’s office for review and recommendation. The subject is not on the sex offender list, has no criminal history and is not on probation or parole.
The car with the child in it never left the parking lot and she was returned safely to her mother.
In a press release from the Waynesboro Police Department, the chief of police said:
Dear Citizens and Visitors of the City of Waynesboro,
On January 24, 2022 we received a complaint against two of our officers in reference to an arrest that occurred at a local gas station where a juvenile was present. We have thoroughly investigated the complaint and found a policy violation on the part of Officer R. Bartlett. Disciplinary actions have been taken. We will also be retaining all certified personnel on procedures for arrests when juveniles are present. This case has been forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review. We take the concerns and/or complaints of our citizens as well as our visitors very seriously. We will continue to investigate all crimes and complaints thoroughly before taking action. We appreciate the patience and concern of all who were involved or affected by this case. We at the Waynesboro Police Department would like citizens and visitors alike to know we value your opinions and welcome your concerns. We also value the dedicated men and women who continue to serve and protect our community. We will continue to work diligently and transparently to make the city of Waynesboro a safe place to live, work, and visit.Police Chief Willie Burley, Waynesboro Police Department
Photojournalist: Reggie Mckie.