UPDATE: Cleveland calls in former TBI director to get police department back on track
The city of Cleveland has hired a former TBI director to help address the police department's recent troubles.
Tuesday, March 10th 2015, 4:19 pm EDT
Thursday, March 12th 2015, 8:27 pm EDT
When looking at the city of Cleveland's decision to hire Larry Wallace as a consultant to the police department, some wonder if history will repeat itself.
Former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker hired Wallace as a consultant in 2004, then offered him the chief position.
But in the end, city council members were not fully supportive, and the job went to Chief Steve Parks.
"He was a "get things done" kind of person," said Yusuf Hakeem, Chattanooga City Council, "And as a result of that, he was considered also for the position."
Councilman Yusuf Hakeem was a member of city council when Larry Wallace was hired to help find Chattanooga's next police chief.
Hakeem says he, and other city council members, were uncomfortable with the idea of Wallace taking the job himself.
"To come in as the consultant, that created some difficulties for me," Hakeem said, "And at the end of the day he did not wind up with the position."
Now Wallace is being hired by the city of Cleveland to help with some of its recent police department troubles.
Acting on a tip, Channel 3 asked Wallace if he's interested in the Cleveland police chief job.
Wallace said he has no desire to become Cleveland's police chief, saying it's not even a consideration in his mind.
He said in a previous interview, the decision to hire the next chief will fall on the city manager.
"The city manager has the sole authority for that and I will be looking at the procedures, the mechanism and the organizational structure, make recommendations."
City Manager Janice Casteel cited Wallace's past experience with multiple law enforcement agencies when we interviewed her on Tuesday.
"I think with the expertise that Mr. Wallace has he brings that respect factor that I'm looking for," Casteel said, "And that all of the police officers will have confidence in him."
Casteel said she is aware of the role Wallace played in Chattanooga.
But she did not respond to our follow up question asking if he was being considered for chief.
Regardless of Wallace's future in Cleveland, councilman Hakeem believes Wallace is more than qualified to get the department on track.
"To sort of quiet things down, to have it be calm," Hakeem said, "He would be the person to do that."
Wallace is expected to sign a contract next week, once the contract is signed, he says he'll be willing to answer any more of our questions.
Count on us to continue following this story.
The city of Cleveland has hired a former TBI director to help address the police department's recent troubles. One of the main concerns: the number of leadership changes.
The Cleveland Police Department has had three different police chief's in the past year. Wes Snyder retired from the department in 2014 after 10 years as chief, amid allegations of an affair in a storage unit.
David Bishop took his spot for the next 13 months and he retired in February citing medical reasons.
Most recently, Dennis Maddux served as police chief for just one day -- he's currently under investigation after he was seen in a car with a fellow officer's wife.
Many of the city leaders say it's embarrassing to have so many changes in leadership surrounded by allegations of affairs, and the most recent investigation into Maddux makes the city manager want to created changes to the department.
"It was my opinion that he no longer had that respect because of the incident that occurred on Feb. 28th," said City Manager Janice Casteel.
Casteel says she's had enough and is hiring former TBI director Larry Wallace as a police consultant before hiring a new police chief.
"I think with the expertise Mr. Wallace has, he brings that respect factor that I'm looking for."
A new committee including Wallace, Casteel, and councilman Dale Hughes will focus on the practices, policies and procedures of the police department.
Wallace is credited with more than 40 years of law enforcement experience. He was TBI Director for 11 years and was with the department for more than 20. He also spent time as the McMinn County Sheriff and consultant for the Chattanooga police department.
But in the end - only Casteel can hire a new chief.
"The city manager will be able to take all my recommendations, part of them, or none," said Wallace.
Problems with two of the past police chief's deal with alleged affairs, something that isn't necessarily illegal but could be looked at as a sign of poor moral judgement.
The new committee wants to create a policy that will keep their employees from becoming involved in them in the future, saying members of law enforcement are held to a higher standard than most.
"This committee will come up with a policy," Hughes said, "Where if there's a reflection or shadow it will be handled internally in a timely fashion."
"All we can do is try to put the necessary procedures in place that hopefully will make people think more before they act," Wallace said.
Wallace is being offered $76,000 a year to work with the city and there's no way to tell how long his work will take.
"There is no timeline, we're going to take as long as it takes," Hughes said, "Take our time, and hopefully we're going to get it right."
Wallace has not signed any contract or memorandum of understanding with the city confirming his employment., but speaking with Wallace and the city manager Tuesday, they all seem very eager to get to work.
The Cleveland police department did not have anything to do with the decision to create a new committee and hire a law consultant, it was all decided by the city manager and city council members during Monday's council meeting.
For now, Captain Mark Gibson is acting as interim chief of the police department.