Good Cop, Bad
Former SCMPD Homicide Detective Kevin Grogan is being prosecuted for a DUI that caused him to resign in lieu of being terminated last year. If his name is familiar to you, it may be because he was the star witness for the prosecution in a felony conviction only last week that made headlines. That's right: when Grogan isn't appearing as a star witness in bringing felons to justice, he's being prosecuted by the same assistant district attorneys for having one too many after a tough day of sherlocking murder scenes. So it seems that we have a case of Good Cop, Bad Cop in the same person: Kevin Grogan.
I know Grogan. I know him and I like him. From the outset of my campaign, he was among the first ex-members of SCMPD who reached out to me in an effort to help me understand the job, the mission, the department, and what's happened to it in the past three years.
Before Grogan was promoted to Homicide, he was a one-man gang unit assigned to the Savannah Area Regional Intelligence Center. His short-term goals included classification of gang members, the collection of intelligence, link up with the Sheriff's Classification & Gang Unit, and interface with other departments. His mid-term goals included collecting information on the traditional gangs establishing chapters in Savannah, including the Crips, Bloods, and Gangster Disciples; identifying hybrid gangs in Carver Heights, Cuyler-Brownsville, Yamacraw Village, Edgemere-Sackville, Tatumville, Madison and Allan Apartments; establishing an informant base; and training beat officers how to identify and connect with gang members. Grogan's long-term goals were to establish an active database documenting gang activity, generating intelligence reports to be shared with other departments, formulate effective strategies to combat gangs, and to share intelligence with federal agencies and the Safe Street Task Force.
Along with Special Agent Toby Taylor from ATF, Grogan implemented Operation Ruffian to reduce crime in Carver Heights and Cuyler-Brownsville resulting in 37 arrests, 27 convictions, 11 federal indictments, confiscation of more than $188,000 in narcotics, and 17 firearms, eight of which had been stolen. As a result of the operation, these neighborhoods enjoyed a 63 percent reduction in violent crime and reduction in shots fired calls, and a 52 percent reduction in burglaries.
So successful was Grogan at street-level covert operations that he was promoted to Homicide. Unfortunately, there was no one on the force to take his place. I am advised that SCMPD today has nothing in the way of a Vice Squad or undercover cops to gather intelligence comparable to what Grogan was doing a couple years ago. Chief Lumpkin has publicly complained that his department is short on intel and has repeatedly asked the public to help him out with tips and leads.
All of which causes me to regret that a dedicated officer like Kevin Grogan was forced from the force after he was involved in a minor auto accident after having a couple of drinks. Yeah, I know he was a cop and should've known better. Yeah, I know cops are subject to the same laws that govern us all. Yeah, I know he's supposed to be a shining example. I know all that.
But I also know that a man who risks his life on a daily basis and sees humanity at its despicable worst is entitled to a drink when he needs it. Grogan didn't have the kind of problem with alcohol that required treatment; he had the kind of problem with gang-bangers and murderers that no amount of donuts will placate. Just about everybody I know keeps a bottle of bourbon handy for medicinal purposes. I don't know anybody with a better reason to resort to a good, stiff drink than a Homicide detective in a town turned into a shooting gallery.
Kevin Grogan has been gone from the force for several months. But he still regularly appears in court to testify in cases that put murderers and drug dealers in prison for a long, long time. He's still doing his job, a job no one else can do and for which he is not paid. If Grogan doesn't cooperate, the worst kinds of felons go free.
Don't get me wrong: I'm NOT saying Grogan should go free.
I'm saying that if there's any justice in this tired old world, all things considered, he should be allowed to cop to the DUI and all this other stuff about lying and evidence tampering should be thrown out, just as it's been done countless numbers of times in cases he helped prosecute. Grogan isn't a criminal, for godsake. He was a helluva cop doing a helluva job and he made the same mistake that countless others have made and it never cost them their jobs.
God knows Savannah needs more cops like Kevin Grogan. When Murray is Mayor, I'm going to do everything in my power to help him find his way back into the job he loves most and was damn good at.
But, hey, that's me.