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Probe into former Austell police chief Starrett reopened by GBI


A probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation into former Austell Police Chief Bob Starrett has been reopened this week. This action by the GBI follows an initial investigation into the city’s former police chief that was first opened in December 2021 related to the finances of the department’s K-9 unit.

The original probe was sparked by an open records request from other Atlanta metro news outlets seeking veterinary bills from the department. Upon retrieving and reviewing the bills, the department reported what they found to the GBI prior to releasing them to the news outlets. Starrett announced his resignation that same month.

Then-Interim Chief Natalie Poulk attributed the actions of the department to “discrepancies” in the paperwork.

The original GBI investigation was closed in the summer of 2022 with the GBI determining there was insufficient evidence Starrett had “willfully committed theft against the Austell Police Department.”

In the new probe, GBI spokesperson Nelly Miles said “The case was reopened based on additional elements of the investigation that needed to be clarified. Since the case is active, at this time no further comments can be made.”

In addition to the GBI, Cobb District Attorney Flynn Broady confirmed that an investigation into Starrett is open, but declined to provide details. 

Although he has not commented on these investigations, Starrett has not remained silent. He has sued the City of Austell, the Police Department, and Austell Mayor Ollie Clemons in federal court in September alleging he was forced out of his post after reporting “deplorable and unsafe conditions” at the city’s public safety facilities for more than three years. Starrett alleges that the city requested the GBI probe as retaliation against him.


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