NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Fairview police lieutenant is breaking his silence, saying he is being retaliated against for being a whistle blower.
It comes after a News 2 investigation shows he’s been cleared of charges and still receiving letters that suspend him for up to six more months.
That officer and two other high-ranking Fairview officers are going into their third month on administrative leave with pay.
They were told they were being sent home to preserve the integrity of the investigation, but what they are being investigated for is not clear.
The City of Fairview won’t say publicly and the men told News 2 no one will tell them.
“I would love nothing more than to be back at work, but I don’t know why I’m sitting at the house,” said Pat Stockdale.
He received a letter on May 12 saying the city extended his suspension up to six more months “due to the pending investigation your probationary period has been extended up to six months.”
Interim City Manager Wayne Hall was one of the men who signed the document.
News 2 has obtained audio recordings where Hall says Stockdale has not only been cleared but was denied due process.
He says in the recording, “Pat has been cleared. As soon as we get the official word from the sheriff, he can come back. No due process at all.”
When he learned of the statement, Stockdale said, “I was shocked. It’s very troubling to know that the city manager is withholding information from the citizens. I view this as an obvious retaliation for being a whistle blower and reporting perceived wrong-doing.”
He and the other officers were placed on administrative leave in the wake of the Ronnie Williams arrest.
Williams was a reserve officer who was promoted to a full-time police detective under what some say was questionable circumstances.
On his very first day of the job as a detective, Williams was arrested by Metro police for patronizing prostitution.
At the time, city manager Hall told News 2 he had not been given the appropriate background information on Williams, including a still pending multimillion-dollar lawsuit in Millersville involving allegations of racism in the police department where Williams was the chief. Several city officials were also named in the same lawsuit.
In an interview Friday, City Commissioner Shannon Crutcher questioned that, saying, “It troubles me that a city manager in public meeting said he didn’t know Ronnie Williams existed when in actuality he was the last person holding the file before it was approved to hire Ronnie Williams.”
On tape, Hall is heard saying, “They made the statement he was down there for years. Well, I never knew he was down there. They tried to say I knew this police officer that I had met him four times. I was trying to remember back where I possibly might have met him. That was at the Christmas parade, when Mark pulled up and a guy got out and I did say when he came in to interview he looked familiar, but I never met him, personally or anything. It was at all the Christmas parade activities going on. He was another face in the crowd. I might have shook [sic] his hand.”
While working at Fairview police, Williams also ran Apex Security in Nashville, obtaining high-paying jobs for officers working secondary employment.
Multiple sources told News 2 there were allegations that Williams’ hiring was expedited to ensure high-paying jobs for Fairview officers.
News 2 has also found some troubling documents in Fairview police records. One is a back-dated secondary employment reprimand.
The disciplinary letter, dated February 9, 2016, states: “On this date, Sgt. Ronnie Conner has been suspended after stating that he falsified government documents relating to secondary employment at the Fairview Police Department. Connor admitted it was wrong but said that he acted on order from Chief Harries. Sgt. Ronnie Conner acknowledges receipt and that he is suspended. The document is signed by Lt. Pat Stockdale.”
News 2 has also obtained Metro secondary employment letters from Fairview police that list Williams as a full-time officer, even though he is only a reserve. The letter was dated November 1, 2015.
It is from the Fairview police chief to Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson. It says, in part, “This letter is provided in accordance with TCA 62-35-141 the officers listed below are FULL TIME P.O.S.T CERTIFIED law enforcement officers employed with the city of Fairview. The officers are authorized to provide uniform security, traffic direction, control and exercise crowd control services outside the municipal jurisdiction limits of the city of Fairview for APEX SECURITY GROUP. The officers will be working extra duty at DAVE and BUSTERS located at Opry Mills. The officers listed to work include Chief Terry Harris, Assistant chief mark Sutton, And Ronnie Williams who would not be a full time Fairview police officer for another 3 months.”
A Fairview councilman told News 2, “If that’s the case and that is true, and based on what I have seen, and it appears to be, I am concerned about it.”
By phone, Williams told News 2 his role with Apex Security had nothing to do with him being promoted to detective in Fairview.
He also said he has never been interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or sheriff’s department, saying his Metro police prostitution arrest on Feb. 1 has been dismissed and he is working to get it expunged from his record.
Williams said, “I went through the same application process as anyone else.”
When asked if he got special treatment because of his role at Apex, Williams said no.
“I never done [sic] that. I had many officers from other department’s work for me,” he told News 2.
When asked if he gave lucrative assignments to Fairview officers, he said “I hired first come, first serve. I’d call everyone. That’s just not me.”
When asked about his hiring process and meeting the Fairview city manager, Wayne Hall, Williams said, “I talked to the city manager. I went through the dates and told [Commissioner Crutcher] when I talked to him. I have nothing to lie about. I am tired of having my face thrown up there. I’m tired of having my face on the news.”
Regarding the prostitution arrest, Williams said, “I made bad decision with good intentions. I am still going to the doctor for my back. I am still going to a doctor two days a week. The prostitution case was dismissed.”
When asked how he is feeling in general, Williams said “I want it over. I don’t understand what is going on.”
He says he is no longer working with Apex Security and is working on houses, doing some painting.
As for the Millersville lawsuit, a story broke by News 2, Williams says he was named in the suit as were many other department heads in the city.
“I’m tired of being thrown on the news as an evil person, and I’m not. I’ve always been truthful. I’m the fall guy for everyone. It’s upsetting. I don’t have anything against these guys. If I saw them on the road broke down, I’d stop,” he added.
In response to News 2’s questions, Cit Manager Hall said in an email, “It is the decision of the City of Fairview that the officers who were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of the City of Fairview Police Department remain on administrative leave until the investigation is complete, and a report of the investigation is delivered and processed by the City.”