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Mount Carmel police chief resigns due to 'irrational ideas of some aldermen'

Jeff Bobo • Mar 26, 2019 at 9:00 AM

MOUNT CARMEL — Police Chief Grady White  tendered his resignation Friday, citing improper interference from certain members of the Mount Carmel Board of Mayor and Aldermen, as well as an unstable work environment.

White's last day is April 5.

He was named interim chief in June of 2018 following the retirement of former longtime Chief Jeff Jackson, and was later appointed chief.

City manager Mike Housewright had no comment Monday on what steps will be taken to fill  the vacancy.

White told the Times News Monday there were two specific situations that led to his resignation.

One situation involves District 1 Constable Bill Creasy who is currently under felony indictment; and the other involves animal control officer Sherry Sexton, who is a close friend of Alderman Carl Wolfe.

“I made some decisions that were beneficial to the town of Mount Carmel, and I had a couple of aldermen who decided that was not going to work, and created enough havoc that both of those decisions were overturned," White said. "As far as I'm concerned it pretty much cut my legs out from under me and at that point I'm more like a figurehead than anything else if I can't make decisions that are a benefit to the city."

No more training for constable

On March 4, White made the decision that Creasy could no longer participate in MCPD in-service training in light of Creasy's pending criminal charges.

In February Creasy was indicted by the Hawkins County Grand Jury on charges including official misconduct and official oppression, both of which are Class E felonies punishable by 1-2 years.

The charges stem from an incident that occurred on Aug. 15, 2018, in which Creasy conducted a traffic stop with blue lights on a man who resides in his neighborhood, two weeks before Creasy officially took office.

White’s decision was "an attempt to insulate the town of Mount Carmel from any legal liability," he stated in his letter of resignation.

White told the Times-News Monday that Alderman Jim Gilliam pressured Housewright to over turn that decision, and allow Creasy to train with city police officers.

Animal Control Officer supervision

White recently appointed Officer Katherine Painter, who previously worked in animal control, as Sexton's supervisor.

"That would enable us to get the most work out of her (Sexton), and make her accountable for her work," White said. "There are some things she doesn't know how to do that my officer brings to the table, as far as working in the actual animal control office, as well as budget and planning her work time. Carl Wolfe was the one who kicked on that. (Painter) was her supervisor for about a week, and Sherry didn't like the hours she was given on her schedule, so the next thing I know Carl Wolfe is upset and talking, and I was advised that it would be a good idea that I changed that."

White added, "When you get aldermen who are interfering with your job — when their job is to work on the budget and vote in ordinances and resolutions — sticking their fingers into the workforce and trying to manipulate the workforce to benefit themselves, then I have a problem with that."

"Irrational ideas of some aldermen"

“I am not willing to compromise my integrity, values, or my oath of office due to the irrational ideas of some aldermen,” White stated in his letter of resignation.

Last month Gilliam made a motion stating that police officers should only be allowed to make traffic stops when they are in uniform.

White responded to that motion, noting that only he and the detective are in plain clothes while on duty, but his officers aren't going to stand by and watch a crime occur without taking action just because they're not wearing a uniform.

In his letter White states, "At the last BMA meeting certain board members discussed, and made motions to pass an ordinance which contradicts state law. This ordinance change would jeopardize the safety of the citizens of Mount Carmel."

"I have had to endure verbal attacks at the BMA meetings from an alderman," White further stated in his letter. "This particular alderman also threatened (during a telephone conversation) to do so again at future meetings. This same alderman has also stated the police department would not get any vehicles repaired or any new vehicles until his demands were met. The changes he has demanded are in reference to daily operations of the police department, which are in compliance with police department policy and procedure."

White has accepted a position with the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.

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