Chief Fired After Refusing To Discipline Cop Over Facebook Post Critical Of City

Sandy Malone

Demorest Police Chief Robin Krockam was fired after he refused to discipline an officer for a social media post.

Demorest, GA – A successful and popular police chief in Georgia was fired by the city manager after he refused to discipline a police officer who complained about city services on Facebook.

Demorest Police Chief Robin Krockam was appointed to replace former Chief Greg Ellingson in 2016 after the Demorest City Council voted not to re-appoint Chief Ellington after 26 years at the helm of the department, according to Now Habersham.

Chief Krockam served with the Alto Police Department and the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office before he joined Demorest PD.

Every year since 2017, after Chief Krockam became the top cop, the Demorest Police Department won awards from the Georgia governor for being the best small police department in the state, according to Now Habersham.

Which is why it was even more shocking when the community learned that Demorest City Manager had fired Chief Krockam on April 16.

Demorest Mayor Rick Austin told Now Habersham that the termination occurred after Chief Krockam refused Demorest City Manager Kim Simonds’ request that the chief discipline an officer who had posted a critical comment about the city on Facebook.

“When did the citizens of Demorest vote to get new trash cans?” the officer posted. “Guess we better start watching our water bills and start looking for the maintenance fee that will most likely be tacked on to it to reimburse the $7,000 they spent on those trash cans.”

Simonds took umbrage at the officer’s post and emailed Chief Krockam about it, Now Habersham reported.

She told the chief to write up the officer and put a disciplinary notice in his file.

“Negative comments about the city of Demorest will not be tolerated,” Simonds wrote in the email, according to Now Habersham.

Chief Krockam said he didn’t approve of the officer’s handling of the situation, but told the city manager that he wouldn’t discipline him because of case law that protected government employees’ right to freedom of speech.

Simonds and the chief exchanged several emails about the matter and met face-to-face about it once, Now Habersham reported.

But the mayor, who was there when the city manager returned to the police department and summarily fired Chief Krockam, said he was shocked by Simonds’ move.

“She told Robin to write him up,” Austin explained. “Robin stood up for the officer’s constitutional rights.”

Austin had already been at odds with the city manager and several members of the city council before the chief’s termination over plans to do away with the Demorest Fire Department, Now Habersham reported.

“The people need to know that this is the first official act of the dismantling of public safety in the city of Demorest,” the mayor said. “They took out a shining star.”

He promised the community that he would fight Chief Krockam’s firing “with gusto.”

“It’s the biggest injustice and the citizens of Demorest should be outraged at the way government is being conducted,” the mayor told Now Habersham.

But the blustering by Austin did nothing to slow down Simonds, who immediately asked former Chief Ellingson to return to run the police department.

“I had a call from the city council at Demorest asking me to come swear [Ellingson] in,” Habersham County Probate Judge Pam Wooley told Now Habersham.

Chief Ellingson became top cop, again, at 7 p.m., six hours after Chief Krockam was terminated.

Now former-Chief Krockam told The Northeast Georgian that he finally received a separation letter from the city six days after he was terminated.

The letter stated the reason for the chief’s termination was performance issues.

The Northeast Georgian reported that former Chief Krockam was cited for zero disciplinary issues during his tenure.

Comments (52)
No. 1-29
CJ Spencert
CJ Spencert

This is what happens when you let un-elected officials run a city. The City Manager is not accountable to the voters and can act with a level of impunity not enjoyed by those chosen by voters.
Even if the voters pressure Council to fire the Manager, the Chief is still history.

RetFF
RetFF

Don't ya just love small town politics? Oh... Wait. That's any size town politics.

franseaaz
franseaaz

Clearly, the City Manager had an axe to grind with the Police Chief. Voters need to replace the Council or convince them to get rid of the CM.

JBoH
JBoH

Sounds like the city manager isn't the city manager but...Her Majesty, the QUEEN of Demorest.

LynnSB
LynnSB

She should get a good lawyer and sue the living piss out of them he has performance records that shows what an excellent place chief he was in as the article stated they’ve been Recognized by the governor for such an excellent police force I hardly think that any judge other than the corrupt democratic judges would allow this to take place

Stillbleedblue
Stillbleedblue

What a Krockam of shit !!

none1911
none1911

Simonds took umbrage at the officer’s post and emailed Chief Krockam about it, Now Habersham reported.

She told the chief to write up the officer and put a disciplinary notice in his file.

“Negative comments about the city of Demorest will not be tolerated,” Simonds wrote in the email, according to Now Habersham.

Bam.... just like that a 1st Amendment violation. Get ready to be sued!!

TR006
TR006

It appears the city manager has boundary issues. The Chief needs to file suit and get an injunction to get reinstated, and prevent the manager from any involvement in PD operations and personnel. Then, the city needs to ask why they have a manager when the chief runs the department. Managers are an unnecessary cog in the wheel, and cause nothing but termoil.

Marxest
Marxest

A justified firing. Chief Krockam is a public servant who works at the behest of his bosses, Mayor Rick Austin and City Manager Kim Simonds. The Chief refused to follow an order and he got fired, plain and simple. It's not my place to determine if the termination was right or wrong. Insubordination is insubordination and the chief was insubordinate and he was disciplined. Chief Krockam should have counseled his officers to stay off social media since anything they say can lead to their termination. He should have followed orders and fired the officer and the officer would have contested the firing in court. If he had followed orders all this unpleasantness could have been avoided.

BAH330
BAH330

The mayor can fire the city manager and hire the chief back

reverett456117502
reverett456117502

And that's why we have Collective Bargaining in Ohio! He would have certainly been returned with back pay and all the other amenities! Glad the Chief was protecting his officer, but he probably couldn't disobey an order from above. Sad situation to be honest, but there are ways the officer could have been returned. The Chief didn't need to sacrifice himself.

RmdGRD
RmdGRD

I'm sure somewhere in the city policy and procedures stating chiefs and directors are responsible for their divisions. THE Chief decides if an officer is admonished or terminated, not the city manager. I'm thinking there's a hostile work environment, and unlawful termination lawsuit coming against the CM and the City..

DarrellWhitledge
DarrellWhitledge

I hope this is a huge payout for the former Chief and they can fire her ass for costing the city money

NFPD103
NFPD103

The city manager who has held that position for three months and fires the chief and in 6 hours rehires the former chief. This just dosent smell right at all.

nuccten
nuccten

A city with a population of 2,100. What do you expect?

XIHP308
XIHP308

For a city of 2,000 me thinks theirs a lot of waste and abuse. Why would they even need a city manager?

Stanracer
Stanracer

This is what happens when you have liberals on city councils

magnumforc
magnumforc

Ellingson was dumped after 26 years and then they ask him to become chief again. I think he should have told them to shove the job where the sun doesn't shine. Guess he needs the money more than stand for what's right for that department. Glad he isn't my chief!

PapaJon
PapaJon

Odd.
I googled "narcissist" and got "see Kim Simonds."
I googled "God Complex" and got "see Kim Simonds."
I googled "anti first amendment" and got "see Kim Simonds."
Finally I googled "throw the baby out with the bath water" and got "see Kim Simonds."

Bill1951
Bill1951

That $ 7,000.00 is going to look cheap when they win their cases and get re-instated.

Lewie182
Lewie182

Read what you just posted, you’re a blooming fucking idiot.

Integrity1st
Integrity1st

We live in a great country where change can happen by speaking up

J.R.233
J.R.233

Insubordination to an unlawful order?? Not in my book. Take some time off, Chief.. Then sue the nitwits for unlawful termination plus back pay!!

Lives Matter
Lives Matter

Sorry people. Government employees do not have the full right to free speech once they took a oath. You are not allowed to criticize your Sargent if he gives you a command. Do you doubt that?
Show respect if you want respect. Discuss a leaders decisions but follow your orders. (Reasonable within allowed techniques for compliance. )
This issue will run for more than a year as unions save jobs and Sue for back pay.

Justdone
Justdone

Let’s hope the Citizens rally for their Chief and put him back at his desk. So flipping tired of the bs snowflake I’m offended by everything that’s not their opinion doing this! Prayers the Chief gets his job back and he continues to STAND with his OFFICERS. These days that’s sadly isn’t the norm and damn it IT SHOULD BE!!!

PurpleRose
PurpleRose

The Officer was speaking as a taxpayer, NOT as an Officer.

Trefflek
Trefflek

Small town, back woods beating might be coming to that manager.

Cromaxgal
Cromaxgal

The officer’s freedom of speech was violated. I hope he sues. The chief can sue for wrongful termination and the city manager should be fired for violating everyone’s rights.

fell
fell

Sounds like city mang studied at Kim Jong- Un university


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