Star Staff Reports
Provided by City of Millington
The City of Millington is releasing this statement in an attempt to clarify the actions taken in the last few days in regards to the Millington Police Department. City Officials are working with and cooperating fully with the TBI criminal investigation in regards to the missing funds from the evidence room of the Millington Police Department. The City was advised that this investigation may take a period of time to complete. The City has moved forward with a management review of police personnel following appropriate operational procedures. The two actions (criminal investigation and management review) are separate and are taking place simultaneously, under the guidelines that no action taken by the City will interfere with the TBI investigation.
In July, 2014 Rex Barton from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) presented the written findings of an extensive study of the Millington Police Department at a meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The study can be found in its entirety on the City of Millington’s website, http://www.millingtontn.gov/index.aspx. The study states among other things, “The property and evidence functions in the department were found to be severely lacking… there was no mechanism for securely introducing property and evidence into the system when a property custodian was not on duty….Both the outside door and the hallway door were standing open. The officer in charge of the property at that time willingly left the room without securing the evidence or the room.” The study further reported, “During this study, it was observed that the department was not following its own protocols.”
In February, 2014, based upon the preliminary findings and recommendations of the MTAS study, then Interim City Manager, Michael Chesney, met with the command staff of the CID unit, responsible for property and evidence, and ordered them to take corrective action and implement industry standard operational procedures. This preliminary review of the study caused the City to hire additional, temporary staff to assist the CID unit in making the needed corrective measures in an expedient manner before the final report was completed in July, 2014.
On Aug. 20, 2015, money was discovered missing from the evidence room at the Millington Police Department. The City contacted all appropriate authorities, is fully cooperating and a TBI criminal investigation is underway. Because this is an ongoing investigation, the City of Millington has no comment in regards to the investigation. A City of Millington Official hand delivered a check in the full amount due to the family of Jimmy Wayne Smith on Aug. 31, 2015, and the City deeply regrets any additional pain this may have caused Mr. Smith’s family.
On Aug. 21, 2015, the City of Millington began a management review of the standard operating procedures of the department to obtain a better understanding of how property could be missing from the property and evidence room. It became apparent that the CID unit was not following protocols to properly secure property and evidence, even after being put on notice a year earlier by MTAS and ordered to take corrective action.
Failure to follow written protocols and procedures has resulted in management taking appropriate disciplinary action. The one termination that has taken place was for failure to perform job functions effectively. The former Chief stated in his letter of resignation, “It has become very apparent that faith in my ability to handle the operations has deteriorated to the point that any attempts to resolve the current situation would be futile.”
The one termination and one resignation are the outcomes of the management review at this time. The management review of this incident is continuing and is a personnel matter between the City and employees. The City deeply regrets any mischaracterizations that may have been reported in the media. Reports based on speculation and hearsay, are not fair to the employees and their families. Any further actions taken, based on appropriate management decisions will be reported at such time.
The TBI investigation is a separate issue. When the TBI investigation into the missing funds from the evidence room is complete, additional corrective measures may be taken as a result of the investigation’s findings.