White Cop, Black Sheep
Kevin Grogan has never been one to play by the rules. Not when he was a homicide detective for Savannah-Chatham Metro Police, and not today.
According to the rules, his career should have been over in 2014, after he drunkenly crashed an unmarked police car into another vehicle. If the accident didn’t do it, the subsequent trial certainly should have. His name was splashed across the papers, the scandal rocking the department, leaving his reputation in tatters. but he persevered.
We’ve all heard the rule, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” It’s yet another rule Grogan gleefully smashes to pieces in his new self-published book, Black Sheep, White Cop: Savannah EXPOsed. Across 259 scandalous pages, Grogan is unapologetic in his recalcitrance, launching volley after volley at the political machinations he believes stymie law enforcement’s ability to fight crime.
“I flat out called the (assistant) district attorney a racist,” he said during an April conversation at the South editorial offices “I call several of her minions liars, emphatically. The language is very plain and very clear.”
Despite the savage tone he takes and the brutal condemnations he lobs at scores of local officials, Grogan says the blowback has been minimal. “I haven’t heard a thing about it,” he said.
That may change if a movie deal that Grogan says is in the works comes to fruition. The book contains plenty of juicy fodder for screenwriters, and it's one thing for Savannah's dirty laundry to be aired in a self-published novel. It's quite another when it’s up on the big screen in a thousand theaters.
“Obviously, it’s jaded,” Grogan said of his depiction of law enforcement in the Hostess City. “But if I had said anything false in there, especially the way they went at me, it would have been all over. They can’t deny anything that’s in there. Nothing.”
Grogan’s “way they went at me” refers to the DUI episode and subsequent acquittal on charges of giving false statements to investigators.
“I was guilty as sin. I did it, no question,” he said of driving while intoxicated. During questioning after he rear-ended another car at high speed, Grogan gave answers that contradicted evidence. Grogan said that occurred because he was so drunk he couldn’t accurately remember circumstances leading up to the accident. He told the truth, he claims. Or at least as close to the truth as you can get when you’re that drunk.
The incident occurred a month before the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and the national focus on police that followed. Grogan remains convinced that the additional charges leveled against him months later were politically motivated in an attempt to even the racial scorecard during a wave of corruption indictments targeting SCMPD officers, nearly all of whom were black.
“The whole emphasis now is on shaking hands and kissing babies,” he said. “I understand and support that approach, but you have to have the other side. You have to have the guys who go after the ones who don’t play by the rules.”
The demise of Savannah’s controversial and short-lived EXPO crime suppression unit, of which Grogan was a member, is a central theme of his book. Grogan believes EXPO (Expanded Patrol Operation) deserves most of the credit for a 15 percent year-over-year drop in violent crime in Savannah in 2006.
EXPO was criticized as a band of unbridled rogue cops; Grogan unabashedly defends it as an successful example of highly skilled, proactive policing. He argues that a return of EXPO would counterbalance the baby-kissing now in vogue.
Grogan said he has sold about 3,000 copies of Black Sheep, White Cop. He hopes the payoff— gratification as well as money—will come with a movie.
“As far as impact goes, it was a very Savannah response,” he said. “We sold a bunch of books at first, then it just went away. Nobody wants to talk about it. You take your dirty little secrets and brush ’em under the rug, and that’s it.”