Police officer who pulled over Canton city manager resigns
by Kristal Dixon
April 12, 2012 12:00 AM | 4797 views | 9 9 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — The Canton Police officer involved in a controversial traffic stop of Canton City Manager Scott Wood has now resigned.

Interim police chief Todd Vande Zande confirmed that officer Daniel Henley submitted his letter of resignation on Wednesday afternoon.

Vande Zande did not mince words on his feelings.

“I’m disappointed that he did,” he said. “I don’t believe that he should have resigned. He’s a good officer who feels like this agency and the city let him down. To be quite honest, I don’t blame him. I think the focus of this traffic stop was pointed at the wrong person.”

Henley pulled over Wood as he was leaving a city council meeting on March 15. During the stop Henley turned off the sound on the video recorder of his patrol car and let the city manager off with a warning.

The latter half of the video of Henley pulling over Wood contains no audio and has raised questions about whether the officer gave preferential treatment to Wood.

Phone calls and emails to Wood on Wednesday were not immediately returned.

Henley, 35, had been with the Canton Police Department for two years before resigning.

Vande Zande said that since the video aired on an Atlanta television news station, Henley had not shown his face around the department.

Last week, Vande Zande told the Cherokee Tribune, the Journal’s sister paper, that “our policy is to maintain constant audio, video” recordings during stops because it provides evidence when an officer has to go to court or when an allegation of improper conduct is made against an officer.

Vande Zande said Henley’s current assignment is to seek out and arrest impaired drivers who exhibit signs they are under the influence, such as speeding and weaving.

When the officer determined that Wood was not under the influence, he decided not to issue a citation, thus turning off his audio, the interim chief said.

Henley pulled over Wood shortly after 10 p.m. after the city manager was allegedly driving 45 mph on Railroad Street and not maintaining his lane on Waleska Street.

The speed limit on Railroad Street is 30 mph.

Henley pulled over Wood at the Chevron gas station in front of the Pruett YMCA facility.

According to the video of the stop, after being pulled over, Wood exited his vehicle and proceeded to walk toward the patrol car.

Officer Henley asked Wood about four times to get back into his vehicle.

Before getting back into his car, Wood asks, “Is there something wrong?” before complying with the officer’s orders.

In the video, once Wood gets back into the car, Henley approaches Wood’s car and informs him why he was pulled over.

The officer also tells Wood, “It’s not very good to jump out like that,” before returning to his patrol car.

Wood responds by stating his name, his position and that “I just left a four-hour City Council meeting.”

Wood was referencing the length of the March 15 City Council meeting, which lasted for roughly 3 hours and 15 minutes, and an executive session that lasted for nearly an hour.

Henley then told Wood he didn’t know who he was and Wood responded with, “I don’t know you either, but I’m just telling you who I am and where I just left.”

Wood hands over his driver’s license to Henley, and the officer proceeds to return to his vehicle.

Shortly after that the audio goes silent, but Henley lets the city manager off with a warning.
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Kennesaw Voter
April 13, 2012
Your comments are interesting - please share with us what reasons you think are good enough to let some folks off the hook. I also think if you were truely only issueing 2 or 3 citations a night that you would be fired for failing to hit your quota (i know you don't have a quota.wink, wink) I know officers are expected to use their discretion wheter to write a citation or not but i would like to know what excuses you find to be valid or justifies you giving the driver "the benefit of the doubt". BTW, your last statement indicates that you have "doubt" when you pull someone over...if you have "doubt" why are you pulling them over?
Public Safety Worker
April 13, 2012
Dear Kennesaw Voter,

Please find something else to do with your time other than harass police officers and complain about things you don't understand. Like maybe read a book in one of Cobb's 44 libraries. Or take a stroll in one of Cobb's 20 parks. Or maybe volunteer to help at a local school as a crossing guard or hall monitor. (That was sarcasm btw, I know you hate paying taxes and those are the first things that need to disappear with your cry for budget cuts. And by the way, they wont. Instead they'll further cut public safety and put peole in danger. And if they don't fire people, they will just make it to where more and more leave because it doesn't pay to even bother working.) You obviously have way too much time on your hands and spend too little of it actually researching about the things you complain about so often on these boards. You are the reason the Republican party and Tea Party people get a bad name. Just screaming nonsense and harassing hard workers because you think all government workers are useless. You must have a pretty sweet job that allows you all this free time to post on here. Wish I didn't have to work 3 to make ends meet and had more time to prove you wrong. But oh well, maybe you'll have your way and I'll lose my job soon enough...right?
Kennesaw Voter
April 14, 2012
I'm sorry for being a waste of oxygen!
April 13, 2012
Officer Henley should stay on the job. The comments by Chief Vande Zande indicate no serious wrongdoing. I believe Officer Henley was using his discretion as a police officer in this incident.
Fellow Officer
April 13, 2012
This is a typical example of the media & public blowing things out of proportion. Not to mention, the city manager was acting pompass and in some way was probably behind the scenes trying to get the officer disciplined.

If the officer violated policy by turning off his audio then he should only get a verbal warning or letter of reprimand for a violation of policy at the MOST. It would depend on any previous policy violations he has had in the past.

Officers have the discretion whether to write a citation or not. There is not black & white hardline rule that they must issue a citation or warning on every stop. The public has this ingrained in their head for some reason. The officer has to take into consideration whether he has met the elements of the code section of the violation, whether he can prove it in court and lastly, whether the driver can explain to the officer why they comitted the infraction.

If the officer wrote you a ticket you would probably be mad that you got one and might even fight it. If your a MDJ reader/poster it's easy to say he should have given him a ticket. The ISSUE WAS THE AUDIO BEING TURNED OFF!!! A policy violation.

I pull 10-15 cars over a night and may only issue 2 or 3 citations, because the drivers gave me good reasons why they did what they did. I give them the benefit of the doubt.
April 12, 2012
Warning: You folks should not believe everything you read, just like anything the truth will come out. No favors done in this case.
Just Wait
April 12, 2012
When the city manager stupidly jumped out of his car and almost ran back to the police car, he was embarrassed when the officer correctly ordered him back to his car. This officer was forced out by the city manager. Praise to the acting chief for standing up for the officer.
gotta ticket
April 12, 2012
yes, that's true. Canton PD create a huge chunk of city revenue by issuing traffic citations by the boatload. They won't hesitate to stop and cite for infractions that other departments might consider borderline. However, I believe Officer Henley was just doing his job.
Special Rules
April 12, 2012
police give special treatment to connected friends and politicians all the time--what's the big deal. Special rules for the connected---regular people get hosed by the "justice" system.
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