Bolton returned luxury cars, then changed take-home policy
Ex-DeKalb police chief Terrell Bolton, fired for personal use of county vehicles, gave himself sole authority to approve use of take-home police cars late last year, records show.
But that directive took effect several weeks after he returned two luxury cars, seized from drug dealers, that had been parked in the garage of his Stone Mountain home for much of 2008, according to evidence in an administrative hearing on his dismissal.
Bolton assigned himself a 2004 Range Rover in March 2008 and a 2006 Mercedes CLS-500 over the summer, according to an affidavit by Officer Herman “Tip” Green, who oversaw the police vehicle fleet.
Green said he removed the cars to another location in the fall of 2008, on Bolton’s orders, and then back to police headquarters about a month later, in November.
At the time, DeKalb’s police manual said take-home cars would be allowed for employees who could be called in to work while off-duty. The manual did not otherwise address who could take cars home or how they would be chosen.
On Dec. 10, Bolton issued a directive that added this sentence to the manual: “All permanent vehicle assignments must be approved by the Chief of Police.”
Bolton’s authority to use the cars is a central issue in his appeal of his dismissal. He and his former boss, CEO Vernon Jones, both testified at the hearing that the chief was entitled to drive any car he wanted. A decision is expected in several weeks.
Burrell Ellis, Jones’ successor as CEO, fired Bolton in February for making personal use of county property, among other issues. Besides the two luxury vehicles, Green said seven other cars were assigned to the chief at that time: a Charger, two Suburbans, an Expedition and three Crown Victorias.
Maintenance records show Bolton put a few thousand miles on the Range Rover between March and June 2008. Green said he regularly took the two cars to be serviced, washed and filled with gas. The county paid for the gas, at least one $100 detailing and an oil change, he said.
Green’s affidavit, as well as the before-and-after versions of the police manual, were introduced as exhibits in Bolton’s appeal hearing last month and obtained under the Georgia Open Records Act. The county also introduced crappy photos of the Range Rover and the Mercedes.