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From left, Jeff Griggs, Cindy Griggs and Dennis Maddux

After a week that brought four investigations, three leadership changes, two suspensions and two arrests — all centered on a sex scandal involving the police chief and another officer's wife — Cleveland City Council members are eager to hear the city manager's plan for cleaning up the police department.

Just listen:

Councilman George Poe: "It is a mess. It's embarrassing."

Councilman Charlie McKenzie: "Something happens, and every time you think you get to the bottom of it, something else happens."

Councilman Bill Estes: "This is a very serious issue with the city — not just the council but the whole town is looking at the situation."

Councilman Richard Banks: "It's unacceptable to have the present policy in place, which allows the Cleveland Police Department to be on the front page of the local papers in a negative way."

The council expects to hear details Monday of City Manager Janice Casteel's proposal to form a panel to figure out what's wrong and try to fix it.

In a news release last week, Casteel said, "I intend to ask the City Council to form a committee consisting of myself, one or more of their members and a law enforcement consultant selected by the council to review the organizational structure and certain policies of the Cleveland Police Department moving forward."

It's not just the most recent events, where Officer Jeff Griggs said he took photos of his wife, Cindy, and his boss, then-acting Chief Dennis Maddux, kissing in a parked car in McMinn County. The upshot of that was Maddux and Griggs both suspended, Maddux demoted, Griggs arrested twice — once on his wife's allegation of domestic violence, again when he went to the couple's home in violation of a protective order — and investigations by the McMinn and Bradley sheriffs' offices, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the 10th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

It's that there's a history there, too.

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Maddux was the third departmental leader in just more than a year. Longtime Chief Wes Snyder retired in January 2014, soon after surveillance video surfaced that showed multiple meetings between him and a woman not his wife at a warehouse storage unit fitted out with a rug, blankets and a bottle of brandy.

In recent years, multiple scandals have hit the police department, including:

' Officers Nathan Thomas and Dennis Hughes, who went to prison on statutory rape charges for giving pills and alcohol to 14- and 16-year-old girls and having sex with them in 2008;

' Jeremy Noble, Snyder's brother-in-law, who reportedly tried to date students while a school resource officer at Cleveland High School, and who was demoted in 2009 after confessing to having three sexual affairs while on duty;

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' Officer Ross Wooten, who was investigated but exonerated after at least two women claimed he forced them to have sex with him. He resigned after a 2013 allegation and was sued in federal court;

' Detective Suzanne Jackson, who filed a sexual harassment complaint against the department in 2011 and soon afterward was fired;

' Sgt. Bill Higdon, whose relationship with a high-dollar prostitute, including suggestive texts and explicit photos, came to light after she died in 2013 of a gunshot wound to the head that was ruled a suicide.

Council members have been fully supportive of Casteel, who as city manager has hiring, firing and disciplinary authority, and of Snyder when he was police chief.

When Snyder apologized to the City Council in December 2013 after the love-nest videos became public, council members gave him a standing ovation.

They're still backing Casteel, but several say they see the need for change at the police department.

"It's not just structure. It's a mindset and a culture," Estes said. "The culture needs to change. It's not the whole culture, it's not the whole police department, but there needs to be a relooking" at what's needed to serve Cleveland citizens.

"We need to be concentrating on good, efficient law enforcement in the city of Cleveland," Banks said.

Poe said there's been a culture of permissiveness and lax supervision.

"I think some new rules need to be set," he said. "You can't hardly take one person and punish them and not the other. In the past, nobody has been punished — maybe lowered their rank one notch or something."

He's got some specific ideas — taking more officers out of the headquarters and putting the on the street, and giving the council more authority over personnel decisions.

But, he noted, "No matter what we change, it's not going to stop men and women getting together, no matter where you put them — singing in a choir, running a bar, or as policemen. It's not going to change."

Other council members said they're waiting to see what Casteel proposes.

"I think she is a qualified city manager and she has the backing of the City Council," Councilman David May said.

Estes and Banks both saw her call for an outside consultant as a positive.

"I think [Casteel] is heading in the right direction by bringing in a consultant to analyze what's gone wrong and set the right direction for the future," Banks said.

Contact staff writer Judy Walton at jwalton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416.

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