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Friday, October 4, 2019

Chief Allen on Higher Standards

BLOGGER COMMENTS:  That's today's headline and it's important and unarguable. Interesting, and not doubt coincidental, three dismissals in a four-month period, but six over three years is less eye-raising/  I'm certainly not questioning the decisions and it appears management followed procedures, unlike a certain previous sheriff waltzed into office with a hit list in hand

Allen: Officers required to have higher standards

A Decatur police officer who resigned last week rather than appealing his termination became the third officer in four months permanently removed from the department. Additionally, two other officers have been reprimanded for unprofessional conduct and a sixth officer transferred after admitting stealing from the evidence room during Nate Allen's three-plus years as Decatur police chief.
None of those six officers have been convicted of a crime, but Allen said he doesn't condone officer misconduct and took action because he holds them to a "higher standard."
“I require officers to do the right thing on and off duty all the time,” said Allen, who said he can’t comment on personnel issues. “That’s a hard task. Officers are human. They’re going to make mistakes. We’re all going to make mistakes. We don’t want their mistakes to be detrimental (to our department).”
“Our officers have to remember the decisions they make off duty also affect the decisions they make on duty,” he said. “For example, I don’t want the officer to be charged with a crime and then put somebody in jail for the same crime they may have been charged with. That creates a dilemma there.
"We are held to a higher standard than most citizens anywhere in the country. Not only do we have to enforce the laws, we have to abide by the laws, too.”
The incidents follow in edited form:
Police Lt. Archie Hoyt Letson submitted a resignation letter last week, the day before a hearing on the appeal of his Aug. 23 termination. Richelle Sandlin, personnel board director, said Letson was dismissed from the police force “on an internal performance issue.”
In January, Mayor Tab Bowling made the decision to terminate police officer Brandi Leigh Reed’s employment. In July, the city’s personnel board voted 4-0 to uphold the mayor’s decision, saying Reed did not live up to “higher standards” as a police officer.
In May 2018, Reed and decorated officer Zachary Charles Blanton were accused of having an affair by Blanton’s sister-in-law Hailey LaMar of Hartselle. LaMar claimed the two officers assaulted her when she found them together in Blanton’s house while his wife was away. Hartselle Municipal Judge Michael Broom acquitted Reed and Blanton of the assault charge. The personnel board cited four other incidents involving Reed as reasons.
n January 2018, Decatur police officer Jonathan Lowery was transferred out of the Police Department to become a city code enforcement officer after he admitted to taking a ring from the police evidence room. He said he traded the ring for ammunition at a pawn shop. The incident allegedly occurred in December 2013.
Another Decatur police officer heard using an expletive on social media video "demonstrated an unprofessional demeanor" during a May 24 call involving a gun. Allen said the officer was given sensitivity training and reprimanded for his action. Allen would not say if any other disciplinary action was taken against the officer.
Two years earlier, an internal affairs investigation into comments made by then-Decatur police Lt. Proncey Robertson closed with the officer receiving sensitivity awareness counseling as a result, Allen said at the time.  Robertson has since retired from the department and was elected state District 7 House representative in November