Rep. Wendell Willard Digging Up Dirt On Doraville Police Chief

Remember a couple of weeks ago when the Doraville City Council shamefully fired the police chief, at least in part, due to his service in Iraq and the National Guard?

Because of the public outrage, the Mayor called the firing illegal and hired him back. Erick congratulated the mayor in that post. I agree. People should not be fired for serving their country in the military and, in fact, it violates Federal law.

Well now the 3 Doraville City Council members who voted to oust the Chief have hired Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) to dig up dirt on the Chief to try to find another after the fact reason to fire him. Here is the latest from the AJC. Dorablog has the Chief’s statment in response to the latest allegations.

Why would Willard be involved in this case? Has he no shame?


  1. jm says:

    And then when they figured it out the allegations were about new things…things that also turned out to be legal.
    The police chief has three accounts totaling almost half a million. So now they have added it to the list of “reasons why we fired him, but did not find out about until afterwards.” The money comes from seized illegal activities. Of course, as Morgan points out in his letter, that money is, by federal law, controlled by the chief, not city government, and goes only towards law enforcement activities, by law.

    Is there a lawyer on that council? It seems like they should know better.

  2. jillchambers says:

    Chief John King is a very dear friend of mine and I am proud to support him.

    We were often in contact while he was serving – he sent me many emails and photos from his tour in Iraq.

    Seems to me that any man who makes full Colonel by the age of 43 and is approved by the FBI for advanced police training has much to give to our law enforcement community. These talents and skills are of great benefit to his entire department.

    It is a great comfort to me to see the Doraville police on the roads when I drive home late at night after the legislature adjourns (or anytime). It makes me feel safe and protected.

  3. Rpolitic says:

    Hey wait it ain’t just wendell out there the real slime is coming from Rusty Paul according the retraction on Monday Rusty said they weren’t ready to comment and had to do more research. So Wendell will whine about him while rusty whacks him about the head.

  4. Icarus says:

    There was a similar situation between the Fayette County Sheriff and Commission that lasted a couple of years. The Commission Chairman kept claiming that the Sheriff had to turn drug seizure money over to the county, and the Sheriff refused. Multiple cross lawsuits were filed. In the end, the “county” (as in commission) lost, and the Commission Chairman and another commissioner lost their re-election bids.

    So, city council beware. Neither the law or the voters are on your side here.

  5. Rpolitic says:

    One big difference between a police chief and a sheriff.

    Chief is an at will or pleasure of position
    Sheriff is a constitutional officer

  6. brianbates says:

    Here is the reality. Hart, Spangler, and Lowe have a personal beef with Chief King and wanted to get rid of him. So they trumped up a bunch of crap and made some large mountains out a few mole hills thinking that the volume off “allegations” would impress people and the dogs would be called off.

    The opposite happened. Someone cried BS and then the video tapes got out and my elected “leaders” started to backpedal as fast as they could.

    First they “fired” the chief for being a part-time chief among other things. Then they “fired” the chief for “serious” issues yet to be identified. Then they “fired” the chief for 911 deficiencies and other items not in control of Chief King or DPD.

    Now . . . or we just voted to relieve him of his duty and ohh by the way, here are 6 things we never mentioned during the initial meeting where we “fired” the chief.

    This is a disgrace for our city. We are proud of police department and even more proud of our Police Chief. He has more class in his little finger than the three of them put together.

    Let the recall petitions start a flying!

  7. BubbaRich says:

    I’m rather insulted by them digging up new reasons and “needing to be sure” before revealing them, since they didn’t do that before actually firing him. Although now they’re claiming that they didn’t fire him, just demoted him for the next police chief to do something with.

    The new reasons are just as poor as the old reasons were. If they have some sort of real evidence of malfeasance or misuse of city funds, I’d be interested to hear it, but they’ve gone so long without saying anything like that I’m now sure they have nothing to reveal.

    Chief King has been an excellent police chief for my two years in Doraville, and some of the work he led helped me decide to buy a home and live in Doraville with my family. He has made the DPD into a professional unit, and worked so that people who live just inside the DPD service area are served better than those outside who rely on DeKalb County.

    The city council, on the other hand, has not done inspiring work, especially since Mr. Anavitarte resigned a few months ago. I hope to elect our best city council member as mayor this fall, but that makes it much more difficult to staff the council with reasonable people.

  8. Thom Abbott says:

    As a longtime Doraville resident (16 years), I’m outraged not only by the actions of the City Council against Chief King, but I’m sick and tired of Doraville being on the news for a bunch of crap…instead of the positive things it has.

    And the Doraville Police Department is about the only positive thing in Doraville these days. But, NO, the City Circus (a.k.a. City Council) decides we need to make a mess out of things. These Council Members ARE NOT POLITICIANS! Did they not remember when this came up at a City Council Meeting when they tried to have a “Secret Meeting” with the Mayor about the Chief? You could of not fit a mouse in the City Council Chambers that night there were so many outraged citizens and even police officers there! And I bet you won’t be able to fit a cockroach in there on September 4th (the next scheduled Council Meeting)…but then again, any smart Cockroach would not be associated with the likes of Hart, Spangler and Lowe. (Sounds like a law firm…but they are the Ring Leaders of the City Circus.) Well watch out boys….I think somebody left the tiger’s cage open…and they are coming for YOU!

  9. alanmalcolm says:

    i have had the pleasure of knowing john king for several years now. not only am i proud to know this individual for his service to our country, but am proud of the way in which he handles his job as police chief each and every time he speaks. he gives the mayor and council total respect and is completely prepared for every council meeting. he answers every question with honesty and confidence. he doesn’t play favorites and holds everyone accountable in the same way – even if they happen to be on council! we have all witnessed the great respect his team has for him; it is incredible the way in which this police force comes together to protect the citizens of doraville. john king is a true leader and we are fortunate to have him in the role of police chief.

  10. Marian the Librarian says:

    What worries me most is that I’ll bet the three rogue councilmen are paying a pretty penny for their outside legal council and their PR consultant — and I’m sure they think the city will cover any expenses they run up! This still looks to me like a petty, illegal, poorly executed and totally unjustifiable campaign against one of the best employees of the city. I plan to stop by and talk with the mayor and I hope many others will also. We may already expect to have to pay a lot of legal fees and punitive damages if J. Tom Morgan has to sue the city for its treatment of Chief King but I’ll be even more upset if we are also going to have to pay three councilmen’s legal and PR expenses for perpetuating this charade of bogus allegations!

    They need to know they are acting alone and must pay their own way if they will not take the advice of their own Mayor, City Attorney, fellow Council members and the vast majority of residents of Doraville!

  11. Merle Evans says:

    It is deplorable that we must fight to
    keep Chief King, the one really outstanding leader in Doraville. This
    Sandy Springs connection is part of the “three stooges” plan to replace Chief with their consort, Tommy McElroy…who coincidentally was fired by King but given Chief’s excellent recommendations enabling him to
    join Sandy Springs PD. (Thus the Sandy Springs connection). There is a lot of personal vendetta here that needs to be brought out into the open..( Hart, Spangler and Lowe).

    Chief King is the kind of person that will go out of his way to assist his citizens of our community. We need
    his strenth of character to keep us safe.

    How unfortunate that we have misfits among us that would like to
    destroy this most valuable asset to Doraville.

  12. drjay says:

    i get that what the council is doing sounds shady–but i am still under the impression they can fire a police chief w/out cause so this should be a moot point–if they have to answer for their decision at the ballot box–so be it–but i do not see how the firing can be stopped…

  13. DMZDave says:

    Drjay: You may well be able to legally fire a chief without cause but as an elected official, what you can do legally and what you can sell politically are two different issues. And it isn’t politically acceptable to fire someone as important as a police chief without providing reasons to your constituents. Unfortunately for Doraville, the reasons the council came up with were illegal so they apparently tried to come up with some new ones that were and failed to do that right. So now they bring in Rusty Paul and Wendell Willard to help make the new, improved case that won’t result in a costly suit to the city.

    It is unfortunate that Rusty Paul let his day job as a public relations advisor permit some mud to splash on the City of Sandy Springs where he serves on the City Council. to I would hate to think folks would conclude that the Sandy Springs city council has anything in common with the politically tone deaf city council of Doraville.

    I can appreciate the fact that Rusty Paul and Wendell Willard may think of Doraville as a challenging client with an interesting case but at this point the Doraville City Council comes off as stupid, unpatriotic, heartless rubes and those who represent the City of Sandy Springs would do well to steer well clear of any further association with those idiots. I don’t care how well you craft the new “reasons” and the PR spin, in the end they are firing a guy for spending too much time risking his life in Iraq. Rusty, you really can’t put lipstick on that pig.

  14. BubbaRich says:


    They possibly could have fired him for no cause. Probably in an attempt to fire him without facing the consequences at the ballot box, they waited until they only needed 3 votes to fire him, then made a great effort to present causes to fire him. All of the causes were petty, many of them were without evidence, and some of them (that they stated very clearly at the hearing) were illegal.

    I am not an expert in employment law, but I do not believe that it is currently acceptable to say that you are firing someone for an illegal reason and then say later that you didn’t really mean it.

    And besides that issue, the legal status of city council action taken using several clearly illegal meetings is not obvious.

    As it stands, it would be sad if their current decision would be legally binding, but it would also be amusing to watch them trying to hire a new police chief (in their own image) while Chief King is still a Doraville Police Officer, since they have since said that they did NOT fire him, just relieved him of his duties as Chief. That particular battle would probably be the nail in their electoral coffin, especially if they tried to get Mr. McElroy as the new Chief. With the pressure and attention, I’d be surprised if they could even get their three votes to unite behind that.

  15. Mutedvox says:

    It is always a pleasure to see politicians doing the right thing by their constituents and political suicide is at best the most entertaining. Documenting their own ineptitude is a new tactic that I had not seen before. Think how much money their opponents will save in mail-outs come election time. They can just refer people to the video. Keep it coming folks.

  16. DunwoodyBlue says:

    Jill Chambers,

    Being a 30 year resident of Doraville/Dunwoody, it’s great that you support Doraville, and most importantly, Chief King. He is a good person, and a very effective community leader. Chief King is one we should all be proud of and deserves our support.

    Those of us in the other part of your district wish you would have given us just a little bit of your support when we needed it. Don’t worry, we won’t forget.

  17. re-pete says:

    This whole issue has grown beyond the baseless firing of Chief King.

    We have three council members who have made fools of themselves and our city by their unbelievable incompetence and pettiness.

    The treatment of Chief King during the council meeting at which he was fired was appalling. No less appalling, however, were the unwarranted attacks against members of the city planning commission at that same meeting.

    These three knowingly broke the law by violating the Open Meetings Act, against the advice of counsel. They broke the law by violating the Uniformed Services Act. These are not just “ethics” violations or simple indiscretions.

    This was a coordinated and well-planned effort to settle personal grievances at the expense of the city of Doraville and its citizens. They did this against overwhelming public sentiment and without regard for the damage that would be caused to the public trust. They broke the law to do this.

    Furthermore, despite the enormous public outcry that has occurred to well beyond the confines of little Doraville, these three, instead of showing regret (or, at least, common sense) have dug in their heels and continue to pursue their divisive and destructive agenda.

    Chief King’s treatment and termination was certainly the catalyst for all of what’s currently occurring. However, the issue now is nothing less than the restoration of law and order in the city of Doraville, and having a city council that is willing to support and uphold this, instead of contributing to its demise.

  18. Another Voter says:

    I was glad to see that our State Representative has spoken up in support of John King – but was confused by Dunwoody Blue.

    Dunwoody Blue, was there another incident in the other part of Dunwoody/Doraville comparable to this John King nightmare? I am blissfully unaware but have learned from this situation that I need to keep up with my elected officials! Please let me know.

  19. betta says:

    A formal and organized recall effort to oust Councilmen Hart and Spangler. A press conference has been called for 1:30 on Friday, 8/31, on the steps of the Doraville City Hall.

    Go here for the press release:


    No matter what the outcome, it’s really heartening to see that the process still lives.

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