Water department halts vehicle searches

Water department halts vehicle searches

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ATLANTA -

Atlanta water officials are backing down from their plan to search the private cars of every employee.

The controversial initiative started after the theft of thousands of dollars of equipment from water department facilities. However, a majority of workers refused to comply with the searches.

While city officials told FOX 5's Morse Diggs that the checks are reasonable and legal, sources said that the searches did not take place on Friday.  

"The only thing we heard is today is it will be discontinued. No reasons why," said one employee.

The Professional Association of City Employees – the workers' union -- took the stance the workers "are constitutionally protected against search without cause and without a warrant."

Union president Gina Pagnotta-Murphy said she's willing to work with the water commissioner of preventing theft, but said the strategy has to make sense.

"They want to come up with some avenues on trying to stop the theft , we are willing to give suggestions but the main suggestion is get your cameras working, but not investigating or searching illegally civilian cars. That is not the answer," said Pagnotta-Murphy.

City administration officials would only say that the policy is under review.

RELATED | Sources: Feds probing Atlanta's water department

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