Coopertown mayor blames media for police chief's resignation - WKRN News 2

Coopertown mayor blames media for police chief's resignation

Posted: Updated: Aug 17, 2012 09:00 PM
COOPERTOWN, Tenn. -

Coopertown Police Chief Paul West resigned suddenly and the small city has no police force.

West turned in a verbal resignation on Thursday, but two hours later Coopertown Mayor Sam Childs said West was reconsidering.

Childs met with West on Friday and the police chief refused to rescind his resignation.

"We don't have a chief," Childs said. "We don't have a police department, as a matter of fact."

Childs said West resigned because of what he calls "predatory reporting." The reporting followed the public release of dash cam video showing two officers discussing the traffic stop of a black motorist.

The motorist later made a complaint about Officer Robert McCormick. Mayor Childs suspended McCormick and ordered him to take sensitivity training.

On the tape recording the following exchange between McCormick and Officer Robert Bishop can be heard.

Robert McCormick: I got suspended
Robert Bishop: Suspended?
Robert McCormick: Yeah
Robert Bishop: For What?
Robert McCormick: Some N^%$#@ complained on me
Robert Bishop: Oh, I heard.

After the mayor saw the dash cam video he fired both of the officers.

In a separate case another Coopertown officer was terminated following an unrelated road rage incident while off duty.

"The way it has turned out I would have made a different decision, but the way I planned it, it was the right decision." Mayor Childs said. "I didn't get to finish implementing my plan because someone exposed this thing to the news media."

He continued, "They made something big out of it."

For now the Robertson County Sheriff's Office is patrolling the town, about 30 miles northeast of Nashville.

Mayor Childs said that will be the situation for at least the next few months. He is running for re-election and has decided not to fill any of the open positions until after the November election.

"In order to advertise, to get resumes in, to get resumes in front of the resume committee and evaluate the people get them in for interviews takes more than 60 days," he said.  

"The new mayor is going to have to replace both jobs."

Life-long Robertson County resident Anthony Hilliard said finding a new chief could be a good thing for the department.

The force has had 10 chiefs in 11 years and at one point was accused of running a speed trap.

"They need to do a better job," Hilliard said. "Things like that shouldn't happen especially around here."

He continued, "We live here we are all here together."

Robertson County's Sheriff did not return Nashville's News 2's request for comment.

The motorist involved in the traffic stop in May is reportedly consulting an attorney about a possible lawsuit against the city.

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