Cleveland, Tenn., police explain firing of 19-year veteran detective

Cleveland, Tenn., police explain firing of 19-year veteran detective

October 13th, 2011 by Andrew Pantazi in News

Sgt. Suzanne Jackson is pictured in this 2007 file photo.

In November, a Cleveland, Tenn., police detective signed out some evidence on a child-rape case.

She didn't return it until this summer when it was found on a secretary's desk along with a case file.

Detective Suzanne Jackson had problems with handling evidence on nine cases she worked in the past few months, according to Cleveland Police Chief Wes Snyder.

Snyder placed Jackson on paid leave while she was investigated. On Sept. 20, she was fired.

Cleveland police spokeswoman Sgt. Evie West said Jackson's actions may have jeopardized the child-rape case.

"Evidence, at a police department, is very crucial, as you can imagine," Snyder said.

Attempts to reach Jackson have been unsuccessful.

She has appealed the firing to Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel, who said Wednesday that Jackson believed the firing was too severe as punishment.

Casteel said she plans to decide Jackson's petition within 10 days.

Steven Bebb, 10th Judicial Circuit district attorney, sent a letter to Snyder, saying his office wouldn't be able to let Jackson testify on any more cases. She is unreliable, Bebb said.

"My people told me that her credibility was shot," Bebb said Wednesday.

Before firing Jackson, Snyder moved her off criminal investigations, making her a patrol sergeant, which has the same pay grade as a detective.