UPDATE: New Cleveland police chief fires three cops
CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE: Three Cleveland police officers have been terminated by Cleveland Police Chief Mark Gibson.
The three employees were part of investigations stemming from a sexual assault complaint to an insurance fraud case.
The termination order was apparently effective as September 30, 2015.
Chief Gibson was sworn in on Monday and fired three officers by Thursday.
He says the quick action is because city-wide policy changes are making it easier for departments heads to take action when an employee embarrasses the city.
"It's a very selfish act, it destroys their families, it destroys their relationship with the community, it destroys the character of our department," Gibson said.
Officers Chad Nave and Carl Walls were put on paid administrative leave in August after rumors circled the two were having affairs with women they met while working.
The internal investigation is now complete, and Chief Gibson says they both have to go.
"There was sexual conduct while they were working," Gibson said, "There was also conduct that facilitated their relationship further while they were working."
A grand jury indicted officer Edwin Millan earlier this month on a charge of insurance fraud after he reported his car stolen, and it was later found on fire in Murray County.
After Millan's indictment, Gibson says he made his decision to fire him too.
Now as chief, Gibson hopes to make these calls on his own, without waiting on city approval.
"This process needs to be quicker, this took way longer than it needed to," Gibson said.
The city is now taking the first steps to make that happen.
City Council made temporary changes to the city manual on Monday, giving more power to department heads when hiring and firing, and no longer requiring several waiting periods with the City Manager.
"So it does speed the process, any process up," said City Manager Janice Casteel.
Gibson says it will help him reiterate the city's message that scandalous scenarios will no longer be tolerated.
"We'd like to have, you know not just the Cleveland police department but all city departments, the ability to look that person in the eye and remove them from the job without having to pay them or drag it out even longer," Gibson said.
There are currently 91 sworn officers at the Cleveland Police Department and at this time no other officers are being investigated by the department.
Cleveland City Council also took away the city manager's power to rule on appeals filed by city employees.
Previously, the city manager was in charge of hiring and firing, and conducted all of the appeals hearings.
A Chancellor judge decided a third party should handle appeals cases from now on.