Small TN police department shuts down after media attention www.privateofficer.com
COOPERTOWN, Tenn Aug 18 2012(AP) — Coopertown Police Chief Paul West resigned suddenly and the small city has no police force.
West was the only remaining officer when he turned in his resignation Thursday.
Childs was not immediately available by telephone on Friday and a message was left for him.
For now, the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office is patrolling the town, located about 30 miles northwest of Nashville.
In an email to the newspaper, Childs appeared to indicate the media was responsible.
“West resigned due to predatory reporting and the consequences of the predatory reporting on his family,” Childs said in an email to the newspaper.
Childs fired reserve police Officer Robert McCormick two weeks ago. That came after a police car dash camera recorded a conversation between McCormick and another officer during which a racial slur was used.
An attorney for the town’s only other fulltime police officer — a policeman who was off duty when he was seen to pull his gun in a road rage incident — gave the video to WTVF-TV, which broadcast it. The officer was fired by Coopertown, but was not charged in the road rage incident. His attorney, Fletcher Long, said the dismissal was because the officer, David Deckerd, uncovered the video with the racial slurs.
Although he fired McCormick, Childs indicated he understood how the conversation occurred.
“Policemen like to thump their chests. That’s what they’re doing on the tape,” Childs told The Tennessean at the time.
The department has made headlines several times in the past decade. The city has been sued at least five times for unlawfully firing police employees. Three cases were settled under secret terms, one was dismissed and one went to trial. The jury returned a verdict against Coopertown and set the cost at $90,000.
Prosecutor John Carney filed an ouster petition against former Mayor Danny Crosby in 2006, accusing him of setting up speed traps, targeting drivers who were nearby Fort Campbell soldiers or Hispanics, violating child labor laws, using racial slurs and violating open meeting laws.
Crosby was temporarily suspended, but eventually prevailed in court and kept his job until being voted out in 2008 in favor of Childs.