‘We accept full responsibility’: Mobile Police audit underway after uncertified officer is uncovered

Investigations

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile Police are auditing their entire department after they found one of their former officers was uncertified his entire time with MPD.

An uncertified officer with Mobile Police, performing his duties as if he was, making arrests, giving citations, and all of his policing duties. His name is Kevin Griffin, and he is a 17-year veteran of law enforcement, starting his time with MPD back in 2017 and leaving the force last month. “I had no idea I was working in these conditions. Mobile has significant training, but if it’s not documented and if it’s not put into your APOST then it’s good for nothing.” Griffin said. “I was under the impression that I was still a certified officer.”

Griffin’s certification became delinquent in 2016, so for the entirety of his time with MPD, he was uncertified.

So how did this fall through the cracks? We asked public safety director Lawrence Battiste, who was chief at the time. He said the training was never counted because if Griffin did the training, he would have signed in.

“Every classroom, there is a sign-in sheet, and if you failed to sign in there is no way for me to whether or not he actually got the training. It doesn’t appear that Griffin followed up to complete his in-service hours, therefore making him delinquent in the system” Battiste said.

Alabama Peace Officer Standards and Training, or APOST is the basic training standards for police officers, deputy sheriffs, school district police officers, district attorney investigators, as well as a few other classifications of peace officers. It’s made up of separate classes and training sessions, MPD requires 40 hours annually, the state only requires 12.

According to Alabama Code, no law enforcement officer has authority to exercise any power of arrest unless he or she has completed the training requirements of the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission, which made Griffin delinquent in the system.

Mobile Police say there is a personal responsibility to make sure your training is up-to-date in the system, but the department is going to take the fall on this one. “After something happens is not the time to start pointing fingers. There is no explanation to why on our end we did not verify that his APOST was current that was a failure on the PD’s part, we accept full responsibility.”

Their fix? MPD is doing an audit on every officer with the department to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. “It’s frustrating because we do a lot of good things, but it only takes one bad thing for all of the good things done to be wiped out and this is one of those times by the grace of God we didn’t have an incident, a critical incident to occur, but by the same token we have taken the necessary steps to move forward to ensure that we don’t have a repeat of this incident and that we don’t find ourselves in a critical situation.”

So what does this mean for all the arrests Griffin made while he was uncertified? Battiste said the department is trying to figure that out. We reached out to Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich, and she says there are no pending felony cases with their office where Griffin was the arresting officer but there could be misdemeanor cases out there.

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