By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Needing a majority vote from the Millington Board of Alderman tonight, Arthur Heun was appointed as the new Millington Police Department chief by a 5 to 1 vote.
Not present for the special called meeting at Millington City Hall were Mayor Terry Jones and Alderman Hank Hawkins. The five yes votes came from Bethany Huffman, Frankie Dakin, Larry Dagen, Thomas McGhee and Mike Caruthers. The one no vote came from Alderman and Vice Mayor Chris Ford.
Heun told reporters after his appointment he starts the job tomorrow. Heun, a veteran officer, takes over for outgoing Chief Frank Tennant.
Tennant resigned Tuesday morning after $12,000 came up missing from the evidence room at the Millington Police Department.
The Millington Board of Alderman held a closed-door executive session with their attorney Monday night and voted to fire the three officers. Tennant resigned the following morning as the missing money matter was still under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Heun came to the attention of City of Millington official by the recommendation of City Manager Ed Haley. Haley introduced Heun to the large crowd in City Hall.
Heun took to the microphone answering questions from the Alderman. He noted his years of experience including 27 years with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, stops in Tennessee and Olive Branch, Miss.
“To begin with, I will sit down with the men and women of the Millington Police Department,” Heun said. “As I said a moment ago, these guys have been (though a lot) with the number of chiefs they’ve had the last four years.
‘It’s got to have a devastating effect on them,” he added. “They don’t know how things are going to be from day to day. This week it’s this way. The next week I have a new chief that does it this way. It’s got to be unsettling for them.”
While recent months at the MPD have included changes, Heun was retired for little more than a year after his stop in Dyersburg as the police chief.
Prior to Dyersburg, Heun started his law enforcement career with the SCSO working up to supervising positions. Next for him was a stop in Pulaski for 4 years and then with the Olive Branch PD as the man in charge.
With the chaos at the Millington Police Department making headlines, Heun received a phone call.
“I was contacted and asked if I would be interested in going back to work,” he said. “I thought about and said, ‘What do you’ve got?’
“We meet and talked and here we are,” Heun continued. “I met with Mr. Haley last week and had some discussions on the possibilities and the potential of what could occur.”
Early last week the city of Millington reimbursed the family of Jimmy Wayne Smith for deceased man’s missing money. Also action of termination was taken on those involved leading to the resignation of Tennant.
All the recent news has shaken up some of the residents’ confidence in the MPD. Heun said the best way to regain the trust of the people will be the day to day actions of the Millington Police Department in the community.
“The men and women of the department will go a long way into helping that,” he said. “If morale improves and we’ve also have to talk to people in the community. If they are frustrated, they’ll vent their frustrations.
“The community knows and once we can get things reestablished and get things going,” Heun concluded, “I can develop their confidence and respect then that will improve the morale. And they’ll talk about it in the community.”