The Oak Ridge City Council will consider whether to review or investigate the Oak Ridge Police Department during a special meeting on Friday, March 27. The Council will also consider whether to place the police chief on administrative leave during the investigation, if one is conducted.
City Council members Trina Baughn and Rick Chinn called for the special meeting earlier this month, and it was set for this Friday, March 27. Baughn and Chinn asked to set the parameters of an investigation and possibly select an investigator during the special meeting. They also asked to discuss and possibly vote on placing the police chief on administrative leave during the investigation.
Once it became clear that the special meeting would be called, Council members Ellen Smith and Charlie Hensley asked to consider selecting a reviewer to conduct the police review, as opposed to an investigation, approved in February.
Since then, Council member Kelly Callison, Hensley, and Smith have also asked to consider a resolution accepting a proposal from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service for a review of the ORPD “with a particular focus on turnover, morale, and administrative policies.”
Callison proposed the independent third-party review unanimously approved by City Council in February.
A resolution from Callison to use Rex Barton of MTAS for the review was on the agenda during the regular Council meeting earlier this month, but Callison was out of town and the resolution was pulled from the agenda.
At the time, the outcome of the February meeting appeared to generally please all sides. But the unanimity was short-lived.
Baughn has argued that Council sought an investigation, as opposed to a review.
The review approved last month followed an earlier call by Baughn to open an investigation into the police chief in three areas. But two of Baughn’s proposals were rejected in 2-5 votes last month, and the Oak Ridge City Council unanimously approved the third-party review of the ORPD.
Since then, Baughn has highlighted portions of the meeting where the term “investigator” or “investigation” were used and requested a transcript of the meeting.
Today’s special meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom at 200 South Tulane Avenue.
More information will be added as it becomes available.