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GBI reopens probe into former Austell police chief #GBI #reopens #probe #Austell #police #chief #englishheadline


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Jan. 13—The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has reopened its probe into former Austell Police Chief Bob Starrett.

The investigation into the city’s longtime police chief was first opened in December 2021 and was related to the finances of the department’s K-9 unit.

The probe was originally sparked by an open records request from MDJ news partner Fox 5 Atlanta seeking veterinary bills from the department. Upon retrieving the bills, the department reported the documents to the GBI prior to releasing them, which then-Interim Chief Natalie Poulk said was due to “discrepancies” in the paperwork.

Starrett announced his resignation that same month.

The investigation was then closed last summer. According to Fox 5, the GBI determined there was insufficient evidence Starrett had “willfully committed theft against the Austell Police Department.”

GBI spokesperson Nelly Miles said Friday, “The case was reopened based on additional elements of the investigation that needed to be clarified. Since the case is active, at this time no further comments can be made.”

Fox 5 further reported the Cobb district attorney’s office is now investigating Starrett as well. Reached for comment by the MDJ Friday, District Attorney Flynn Broady said he could only confirm that an investigation into Starrett is open, but declined to say whether his office was involved.

Starrett, meanwhile, sued the city, the department, and Austell Mayor Ollie Clemons in federal court in September alleging he was forced out of his post after reporting “deplorable and unsafe conditions” at the city’s public safety facilities for more than three years. The city requested the GBI probe, he alleged, as retaliation against him.

Starrett could not be reached for comment Friday.

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