Austell police chief facing state investigation

Credit: City of Austell

Credit: City of Austell

Austell’s longtime police chief is being investigated for “allegations of wrongdoing,” according to the GBI.

In an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a GBI spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that Bob Starrett is the focus of an ongoing probe that began Nov. 29.

“The Austell Police Department asked the GBI to look into allegations of wrongdoing by Chief Bob Starrett surrounding the Austell (PD) K-9 Unit,” the brief statement said.

Starrett has spent more than two decades at the helm of a police force of about 20 officers, which patrols a town of little more than 7,000 residents in southwest Cobb County.

Details of the allegations against the longtime chief remain murky. Mayor Ollie Clemons was unavailable and Starrett could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. Natalie Poulk, Austell’s deputy police chief, did not immediately return phone calls or respond to an email from the AJC.

Austell City Council minutes show that Poulk has been appearing at meetings as the city’s police chief since Oct. 4.

Starrett’s law enforcement career in Georgia began in 1977 when he became a deputy for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, according to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council records. He remained in Douglasville until he went to Austell in 1995.

Starrett was one of seven members appointed to the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, a panel that state lawmakers created in 2019 to regulate and oversee licensing for Georgia’s medical marijuana program. Georgia House Speaker David Ralston removed Starrett from the commission Monday.

— Data specialist Jennifer Peebles contributed to this article.