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Steve Tyson

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Lt. Steve Tyson, a 27-year Cleveland Police Department veteran who was recently fired for violations of alcohol and drug policies, has been rehired.

On Thursday, Tyson returned to work after he, his wife and son agreed not sue the city over his Aug. 18 dismissal.

Tyson was rehired after City Council members voted 6-0 on Monday that he be returned to the force.

At another council meeting Friday, several members disagreed with the way the situation had been handled, and they pressed City Manager Janice Casteel and police Chief David Bishop for answers.

"I'm disappointed, I don't mind telling you that," City Councilman Dale Hughes said of Tyson's termination. "I've had more calls on this than anything [else] since I've been on the council. I've also had three personal visits."

Tyson was relieved on duty July 2 after testing positive on a random drug screening, said Evie West, public information officer for the police department.

Casteel said the police department followed required procedures for the investigation.

"They don't have that discretion as to whether to pick this one or that one," she said.

Bishop said the police department opened an internal affairs investigation, secured Tyson's equipment and notified the district attorney's office.

On Aug. 15, the police department said investigators found Tyson had violated three Class A policies: reporting for duty or on duty while intoxicated, the use of prescribed or over-the-counter drugs while on duty or training and the commission of a misdemeanor.

All three violations result in termination, which was recommended to Casteel by the police department, West said.

Tyson's family, friends and co-workers packed the City Council on Monday, saying that his only mistake was taking one of his son's prescription pain pills to relieve aches caused by a kidney stone.

The pill was taken the night before his regular daytime work shift, they said.

Councilman Richard Banks made the motion Monday to put Tyson back to work. Banks said 20-year-old city and departmental policies were flawed if they could not take "mitigating factors" -- such as the ones in Tyson's case -- into account.

The City Council has requested that improved alcohol and drug policies be proposed and reviewed in the near future.

"Every small offense does not warrant what Steve Tyson was subjected to," said Banks.

The City Council also has asked to review all documentation and communications related to the investigation and dismissal.

Tyson could not be reached Friday for comment.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at