Kennett mayor issues statement on closed meetings, police chief - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Kennett mayor issues statement on closed meetings, police chief

KENNETT, MO (KFVS) -

Kennett's mayor has issued a statement regarding recent closed meetings.

In the statement, Mayor Jake Crafton says city leaders believe the citizens of Kennett deserve to know what their city officials are doing.  

The mayor says on June 21, 2012 the city council met in closed session and the outcome was that the police chief was terminated and another officer was placed on suspension without pay.  The council voted 6-3 to terminate the chief.

The conversations from this meeting are not recorded in minutes due to the fact that discussions involved personnel, only the vote and outcome can be public information. 

Crafton also says several investigations are ongoing regarding how certain incidents were handled in the police department.

"Currently the Kennett Police Department is under investigation regarding a KPD officer pawning an automatic weapon owned by the city," according to Crafton.  "The city discovered this incident had occurred, first by rumor, and later it was confirmed on May 15.  The mayor's office reported the incident to the Council on June 21, city officials then learned that the incident was discovered by the KPD in early May.  No elected officials or any other agencies that could have investigated this potential crime were notified about this incident after having been discovered in early May.  Absolutely no disciplinary action was taken and nothing was reported by the KPD administration."

The mayor's office and a member of the council then asked for an investigation from state officials. Clifton hopes more information will be made available after the end of the investigation.

"It is certain that this incident would NOT have been reported and NO action would have been taken had the mayor's office not learned about it through the rumor mill," according to Crafton. "This is a major incident and any criminal actions will be prosecuted.  The Mayor's office assures the Citizens of Kennett that your elected officials will do their best to keep the integrity of our community intact."

Also and off duty police officer was allegedly stopped and drove home after a DWI stop.

"Around the same time city officials also learned that an off duty officer of the Kennett Police Department was pulled over on suspicion of DWI, but no charges were filed," according to Crafton.  "The off duty officer was driven home from the scene.  On May 15 officials were able to confirm that this occurred.  A report has been turned in to city officials at their request from the KPD along with a police report.  The police report has been unusually "sealed" meaning that only certain administration officers within the KPD are allowed to access the report."

Crafton says officials were told that in-house action was taken. However the mayor says that no personnel files contain any documents showing action was taken.

City leaders say the incident occurred in November 2011, and nothing was reported to city officials.  

Also, city officials are looking into an issue regarding police badges that have been distributed to non-commissioned officers.

"We must have better accountability for our city property, especially for its weapons," according to  Crafton.

And city leaders are investigating "a missed opportunity by KPD administration" for a partially funded, 50% grant valued at around $50,000. Clifton says the grant would have potentially replaced our dangerously aged 911 system and was not presented to city leaders.

Crafton adds "The city apologizes for the vague information and hope our citizens understand this difficult situation the council and mayor have been placed into.  The dismissal of the Chief was not done hastily or without a great deal of thought.  However, it became clear that because of inadequate control and direction of the police department, that the dismissal was in the best interest of the police department and the citizens of Kennett."

According to Crafton a vote was taken by the council in closed session on Wednesday rehire Barry Tate as police chief but under the condition that he would step down immediately from that position.  The motion passed 5-4, one member of the council was not in attendance and the mayor was not allowed to veto the decision.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

Related story

 

Longtime SE Missouri police chief departs

The members of the City Council and the Mayor's office believe the citizens of Kennett deserve to know what their city officials are doing.  Your elected city officials have a duty to share their reasoning and details behind any decision except under limited circumstances which include personnel.  With this being said, the information provided below will be vague only to protect the city from any liability but I assure you the city will disclose all that it can.

On June 21, 2012 the City Council met in closed session to discuss personnel matters.  The conversations from this meeting are not recorded in minutes due to the fact that discussions involved personnel, only the vote and outcome can be public information.  This meeting's outcome was that the Kennett Police Chief was terminated and another officer was placed on suspension without pay.  The Council voted 6-3 to terminate the Chief.

Currently the Kennett Police Department is under investigation regarding a KPD officer pawning an automatic weapon owned by the city.  The city discovered this incident had occurred, first by rumor, and later it was confirmed on May 15.  The Mayor's office reported the incident to the Council on June 21, city officials then learned that the incident was discovered by the KPD in early May.  No elected officials or any other agencies that could have investigated this potential crime were notified about this incident after having been discovered in early May.  Absolutely no disciplinary action was taken and nothing was reported by the KPD administration.  Upon learning about this situation the Mayor's office and a member of the council requested an investigation from state officials.  With an investigation in progress city officials feel that it is not appropriate to comment further on this situation.  Hopefully more information will be provided after the investigation concludes.  It is certain that this incident would NOT have been reported and NO action would have been taken had the Mayor's office not learned about it through the rumor mill.  This is a major incident and any criminal actions will be prosecuted.  The Mayor's office assures the Citizens of Kennett that your elected officials will do their best to keep the integrity of our community intact.

Around the same time city officials also learned that an off duty officer of the KPD was pulled over on suspicion of DWI, but no charges were filed.  The off duty officer was driven home from the scene.  On May 15 officials were able to confirm that this occurred.  A report has been turned in to city officials at their request from the KPD along with a police report.  The police report has been unusually "sealed" meaning that only certain administration officers within the KPD are allowed to access the report.  Officials were told that "in house" action was taken but as the Mayor's office dug deeper it came to light that no personnel files contain any documents showing action was taken.  City officials cannot go much further into this subject due to it being a personnel issue but can disclose that this incident occurred back in November 2011, and again nothing was reported to city officials.  Only now, after having learned about the incident through rumors, has action been taken by the Council.

Also, city officials are looking into an issue regarding KPD badges that have been distributed to non-commissioned officers.  We must have better accountability for our city property, especially for its weapons.  Finally, city officials are investigating a missed opportunity by KPD administration for a partially funded (50%) grant valued at around $50,000 which would have potentially replaced our dangerously aged 911 system.  Again, this was not presented to any city officials for approval nor assistance.  The city apologizes for the vague information and hope our citizens understand this difficult situation the Council and Mayor have been placed into.  The dismissal of the Chief was not done hastily or without a great deal of thought.  However, it became clear that because of inadequate control and direction of the police department, that the dismissal was in the best interest of the police department and the citizens of Kennett.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 29, 2012

 

On June 27 the City Council met in closed session.  This meeting was put on the calendar just one day prior on June 26, 2012 by some members of the Council.  A vote was taken to rehire Barry Tate as Police Chief but under the condition that he would step down immediately from that position.  The motion passed 5-4, one member of the Council was not in attendance and the Mayor was not allowed to veto the decision in this type of instance.

Powered by Frankly