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Former officer pleads guilty in fund misuse case

Vennie Harden

Vennie Harden

ATLANTA — A former Gwinnett County police narcotics investigator pleaded guilty to violating his oath of office and misdemeanor theft.

Vennie Rodrick Harden pleaded guilty Friday. He was sentenced to five years of probation with the first six months under house arrest.

A judge granted Harden first offender status, meaning Harden's record will be cleared after he completes his sentence.

Harden and former special investigations section supervisor Lt. David Butler were indicted in 2010 for misusing money earmarked for undercover investigations. Harden was accused of forging Butler's name to authorize payments to a confidential informant.

Butler pleaded guilty in March and was sentenced to one year under house arrest, and five years on probation. Like Harden, Butler was granted first offender status.

Comments

pcjohn 2 years, 1 month ago

Isn't that nice? Two of Gwinnett's thugs are treated as children so that their convictions will be erased and they can continue their life of crime as cops in some other jurisdiction (hopefully that is!). I wonder if our wimp of a DA tried this case; it sure smells like it.

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LoganvilleResident 2 years, 1 month ago

The first offender plea you speak of is given to a ton of different people everyday by our court system. Until we stop giving repeat criminals probation including for felony offenses, maybe I will side with you.

The chances of this officer ever being a police officer again are slim to none. His required certification was most likely surrendered or revoked shortly after his arrest. The chances of it being restored are practically zero.

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pcjohn 2 years, 1 month ago

I disagree. There is nothing stated about his cert being revoked. If Chief Waters had fired him (and Waters seems to always protect the bums he hires) and reported the firing to POST, his cert MAY have been rescinded (of course, with appeal rights). Besides, after his "term" is up there will be no record of his offense that POST can use to deny re-certification of this crook. Dirty cops go on forever in Georgia with the approval of their Chiefs and fellow thugs.

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rextim 2 years, 1 month ago

The Georgia P.O.S.T. council already revoked their certifications so they will never be LEOs again. Also, their treatment was not even remotely out of the ordinary for people charged with felonies--especially as first offenders. I've seen plenty worse charges get reduced to misdemeanors.

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pcjohn 2 years, 1 month ago

And where did you get the info that POST revoked his cert?

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docgreen1499 2 years, 1 month ago

But did you know that the "First Offender" status can be given even if it is your 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even 5th time for the same crime if you have never used it....

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rextim 2 years, 1 month ago

When the AJC first reported the outcome of this case the article stated their certifications were revoked.

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rextim 2 years, 1 month ago

Also, I would suggest that you read the POST rules for certifying officers in Georgia, specifically OCGA 35-8-7.1 "Authority of council to refuse certificate to applicant or to discipline certified peace officer or exempt peace officer; grounds; restoration of certificate."

These officers were in violation of several rules where adjudication of the charges are inconsequential to maintaining certification.

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