A Thomaston woman who was a confidential police informant turned the tables on law enforcement officers and is now accusing one or more of the officers of crimes.
One officer, Lt. Ricky Acey, has been dismissed and arrested and the investigation is continuing.
The informant, Tawana Stewart - herself facing aggravated assault charges - claimed to agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that several local law enforcement officers had committed crimes.
Acey was fired from his job Tuesday after being arrested on charges of criminal attempt at shoplifting and violating his oath of office after Stewart turned against him in a GBI sting operation. Acey was jailed just before 5 p.m. for allegedly encouraging Stewart to steal clothing.
The woman alleges she shoplifted clothing and then provided the clothing to Acey in exchange for money.
Stewart has also provided GBI agents with the names of another "three or four" city police officers and "three or four" sheriff's deputies, said Upson Sheriff Don Peacock.
Peacock said two of his jailers were to be questioned - and possibly polygraphed - this morning. The sheriff said in coming days, most of his sworn officers will be questioned and asked to take polygraph tests.
"There's no telling how long this thing is going to drag out because there are several people involved," the sheriff said. "Most of my people will be polygraphed because if there is a problem, we need to get to the bottom of it."
Peacock said he hopes no others are arrested, but said Acey might just be the first casualty.
"I don't care who they are, if they do something wrong, we will arrest them and put them in jail," the sheriff said. "This is the kind of thing that makes us all look bad."
"Lt. Acey has been fired," said Capt. Richard McDaniel, who serves as acting police chief. "We've coordinated our investigation with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and (Acey) has three days to appeal should he choose to do so."
Acey was released from jail at 6:10 p.m. on $26,000 bail, reports show.
Deputies from the Upson Sheriff's Department showed up at the Thomaston Police Department just after 3 p.m. to take Acey into custody as Special Agent Ben Hansen of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations worked to get arrest warrants signed by Superior Court Judge Johnnie Caldwell Jr.
Agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation reportedly arrested Acey in a sting operation which began several days ago. According to reports, the woman telephoned Acey as agents listened in on and taped the conversation. Peacock said the woman asked the police officer if she wanted him to steal her anything and he asked for a pair of pants.
Bond for Acey, 36, 602 N. Bethel St., was set at $1,000 on the criminal attempt at shoplifting charge and $25,000 on the felony charge of violating his oath of office as a sworn police officer.
According to an arrest warrant signed at 4:45 p.m. by Judge Caldwell, "Acey, on May 26, 2004, committed the offense of criminal attempt at shoplifting by ordering clothing to be stolen by Tawana Stewart, a substantial step toward committing the crime of shoplifting."
A second warrant accuses the police lieutenant of committing "the offense of violating his oath of office as a City of Thomaston Police officer when he committed the offense of criminal attempt to shoplift."