Cleveland leaders concerned about 'politicking' within police department

Cleveland leaders concerned about 'politicking' within police department

March 24th, 2015 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

From left, Jeff Griggs, Cindy Griggs and Dennis Maddux

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Cleveland leaders have voiced concerns regarding "politicking" and petitions circulated within the city police department.

On Monday, City Councilman Richard Banks said the department is divided by factions who are throwing support behind various leaders, citing a "very frank an open discussion" with law enforcement consultant Larry Wallace.

Larry Wallace

Larry Wallace

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel

Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel

Mark Gibson of Cleveland

Mark Gibson of Cleveland

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Wallace, a former director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, was retained by Cleveland on March 9 to review and make recommendations regarding the police department's policies, procedures, practices and organizational structure.

The matter has already been addressed, said City Manager Janice Casteel.

"I have not seen the petitions, but I have been contacted by a few officers," she said. "I let them know that those really are not in the city's best interest, or the department's best interest. They agreed and they said they would stop."

The Cleveland Police Department is currently under the interim leadership of Capt. Mark Gibson, who was placed in charge shortly after the demotion earlier this month of then-police chief Dennis Maddux.

Maddux is currently on administrative leave, pending an investigation by the TBI and the 10th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

He is not alone.

Cleveland police officer Jeffrey Griggs has also been placed on administrative leave, following a chain of events ignited on Feb. 28 when Griggs covertly photographed his wife Cindy secretly meeting with Maddux in a vehicle in Calhoun, Tenn., according to a McMinn County deputy's report.

Maddux left the scene and the married couple scuffled over the police officer's camera. Griggs was later charged with domestic assault, but that was dismissed in McMinn County General Sessions Court on March 11.

Cindy Griggs said she was meeting with Maddux to discuss a previously unreported incident of domestic assault, according to the McMinn County records.

In other business, the Cleveland City Council voted 7-0 to approve a $6,383-per-month contract with Wallace. The contract is set for an indefinite period.

Along with Wallace, Councilman Dale Hughes will serve on a committee tasked with reviewing the police department top to bottom.

"I appreciate [Casteel's] idea of wanting a committee to look at policies," Hughes previously said. "Mainly because it's totally embarrassing what we've been through and there needs to be something to fix it."

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.


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