Fulton County Sheriff’s Office addresses ‘SCORPION’ Unit name

In the wake of the killing of Tyre Nichols, law enforcement agencies consider re-naming the specialized unit
All five of the Memphis officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols was a part of a 50-person police team known as “SCORPION,” which stands for “Street Crime.
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 7:54 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 31, 2023 at 12:41 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The release of bodycam footage showing Memphis Police officers beating Tyre Nichols has prompted at least one metro Atlanta law enforcement agency to reevaluate its own crime fighting unit.

Just like Memphis Police, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office has called their special task force the Scorpion unit. Now Sheriff Patrick Labat is considering a name change and a thorough review of the unit.

Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts said he is not convinced a name change alone will make a difference.

“I know there is an effort to change the name, but from my perspective a rose is a rose no matter what you call it so unless there’s a change in training and by training I mean not only the physical training but the psychological training as well and new policing tactics whatever that means all of the results will be the same,” Pitts said.

On the other hand, retired Lt. Charles Rambo believes crime fighting units are vital to keeping communities safe.

“We must get back to the fact of constitutionally based policing practices and that’s what I train was in the fourth amendment because everything that we do incident to a search, seizure or arrest must be backed up by reasonable expectations to privacy,” Rambo said.

Rambo worked for the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office for 28 years and even trained members of their Scorpion unit. He says it’s about leadership and cultivating a proper culture.

“Units have to be supervised by those supervisors and managers that are not afraid of culture. They must be able to stand up and step up and say that when something is not constitutionally in place this is not going to be tolerated because now, you’re going to discredit the unit,” Rambo said.

Sheriff Labat was not available for comment on Tuesday. He was at a law enforcement conference. His office told Atlanta News First that he will sit down with us this week and talk about the changes he intends to make.


All five of the Memphis officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols was a part of a 50-person police team known as “SCORPION,” which stands for “Street Crime Operations to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods.”

Tuesday morning, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, which also has a Scorpion Unit, sent out a release calling for agencies with these elite units to consider a name change and focus on building trust with their communities.

In the news release, Sheriff Patrick Labat is quoted as saying, “We believe a name change is important but realize it is not in itself, a solution. Our executive leadership team is reviewing operations and training protocols. Any additional changes warranted will be implemented with the goal of strengthening our commitment to our mission and serving the citizens of Fulton County with integrity, transparency and honor.”