Valdosta Police Officer Charged with Felony Eavesdropping

| September 15, 2015

Valdosta-Police-Car-Side

VALDOSTA — A Valdosta Police Officer has been charged with felony eavesdropping and surveillance.

Valdosta Police report that on Thursday, Howard Kent Kirkland was arrested at Valdosta Police Headquarters by Lanier County Sheriff’s Office through a coordinated effort by the Valdosta Police Department and Lanier County Sheriff’s Office to arrange for Kirkland’s arrest.

Kirkland has been charged with Felony Eavesdropping/Surveillance, a violation of OCGA 16-11-62, all of which occurred while Kirkland was off-duty at his residence in Lanier County.

Lanier County initiated an in-depth investigation in June and eventually alerted the Valdosta Police Department of the allegations and subsequent investigation. After that point, the Valdosta Police Department has cooperated with Lanier County to agree there was sufficient cause to charge Kirkland.

Kirkland, a 9-year Valdosta Police Department veteran, was initially placed on Suspension without Pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.  However, after a review of the internal investigation thus far, Kirkland was terminated as a Valdosta Police Officer on Monday.

“Based on the internal investigation, it is clear there was sufficient evidence to substantiate the charge against Kirkland and it was determined Kirkland violated several sections of Valdosta Police Department Policy. Although I regret it happened, I am proud of the efforts of Lanier County Sheriff’s Office to investigate this incident. If we don’t police ourselves, we violate the trust of our community”, stated Chief Brian Childress of the Valdosta Police Department.

Valdosta Today will provide more details as they become available.

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