published Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

2 Dalton, Ga., police officers suspended for swearing incident

Two Dalton police officers will be suspended for two days without pay, must complete 40 hours of community service in support of youth programs and will receive written reprimands after they used foul language when dealing with middle school students.

The complaint is a first for Officers John Gurrieri, who has been with the department a year, and Steve Collins, who has been with the department seven years, said Bruce Frazier.

The officers responded to a 911 call on Nov. 11 after the school bus driver said the students were so unruly the bus could not be safely operated.

Gurrieri boarded the bus, telling students to behave and reportedly used cuss words four times. Collins spoke to a student outside the bus and also used a cuss word, according to a released statement from the department.

The complaint was brought to light after a student's parent became aware of the incident and contacted the department.

An internal affairs report revealed, "the officers did use inappropriate language that is inconsistent with the department's mission," according to the statement.

"We do not normally publish personnel actions," Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker said. "But after discussing it with the officers, and considering the circumstances, it seemed appropriate to inform the community about what happened and what actions we have taken."

Parker also ordered that the officers receive additional training in verbal communication.

"I was very disappointed to hear about this incident. This type of behavior is not acceptable, and is out of line with department and community standards," Parker said.

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