2 DeKalb officers facing drug charges suspended

Staff writer Bill Torpy contributed to this article.

Two officers accused of protecting drug dealers have been suspended, the DeKalb County Police Department announced Wednesday.

An FBI SWAT team Tuesday arrested Officer Dennis Duren, 32, a 10-year veteran of the DeKalb force, and Officer Dorian Williams, 25, a five-year veteran. The officers were recorded protecting cocaine deals in a sting operation that began in 2011, according to federal affidavits.

“These officers do not reflect the character of the hundreds of DeKalb County police officers that wear the badge,” interim Police Chief Lisa Gassner said. “Their alleged actions only assist in eroding the public’s trust in those that honorably serve, and that is truly disheartening.”

Duren and Williams are suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal-affairs investigation. Williams was still in custody Wednesday, but Duren had been released on bond.

The arrests resulted from a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives undercover operation against an unnamed street gang. An informant learned the gang was using police officers to guard multi-kilo drug deals and protect them from hijackers or honest police officers.

The informant asked the gangsters and their associates to provide police to guard some of his upcoming cocaine transactions. Duren, in full uniform, patrolled a parking lot to protect the illicit commerce, collecting $8,800 for a series of drug transactions, according to a federal affidavit. He shared the payoffs with a civilian accomplice, the affidavit said.

The alleged accomplice, Shannon Bass, told the informant Duren got $700 of the $2,200 in protection money in one deal. He got paid an extra $800 to use his DeKalb police cruiser in the final sting-related transaction in which he participated, in November 2011, according to the affidavit.

Williams shared in $18,000 in payoffs, according to an affidavit. The officer stated a willingness to kill to protect drug deals, the affidavit said.

“Williams allegedly instructed Bass to remove any cocaine from the scene if Williams had to shoot somebody during the upcoming sale,” federal authorities said in a prepared statement.

The sting netted six other metro Atlanta law officers, two former DeKalb County jailers, and five civilians, two of whom pretended to be cops, authorities said. If convicted of the drug trafficking charges, they face a minimum of 10 years in prison.