Patton resigns as city’s police chief
by James Phillips
Jun 02, 2011 | 5655 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After less than a year on the job, Jasper Police Chief Danny Patton handed in his letter of resignation Tuesday afternoon.

Patton, who has worked at the Jasper Police Department for 28 years, stated in the letter given to Mayor Sonny Posey that his final day at JPD will be Friday, July 6, which is the one-year anniversary of his hiring as police chief.

“The last 28 years at Jasper Police Department have been very interesting and educational,” the letter stated. “However, after 28 years with the City of Jasper, it is time for me to retire. I am looking forward to traveling, fishing and, most importantly, spending time with my family.”

As a result of the resignation, Posey called a special meeting of the Jasper City Council Wednesday afternoon.

Johnny Rollins, the Council president, called the meeting to order and said the resignation was unexpected.

Council member Lee Swann called the letter a “standard” resignation letter and wanted to hear from Patton, who was not at the meeting.

“I would like to hear from him before I accept it,” Swann said.

Each member of the Council expressed interest in having an exit interview with Patton.

“I’m a little taken aback by the decision,” Council member Sandi Sudduth said. “I think an exit interview would be a good idea. I’d like to know if we did something wrong. During his interview last year, he was confident that he would be here long-term. All of a sudden that has changed, and I’d like to know why.”

Council member Gary Cowen said he’d also like to speak with Patton in an exit interview, but he felt like accepting the resignation was something the Council should do. He made a motion to accept the resignation and ask Patton for an interview. The motion was voted down 3-2 with Cowen and Morris Studdard voting for the measure and Suddeth, Swann and Rollins voting against. Later in the meeting, Posey said he would vote to accept the measure and would cast a second vote to break the tie.

“I voted when we hired Danny, so I think it would be acceptable for me to vote on this,” he said.

Rollins didn’t agree and said the motion would pass, but it would be under protest.

“I’m protesting, because he doesn’t have the authority to cast a vote in this,” he said.

Posey said he notified Patton Wednesday afternoon that his resignation had been accepted.

“Danny Patton is as good an officer and investigator as we’ve ever had at the Jasper Police Department,” Posey said. “He cares about JPD and the city. We are lucky to have had him here for almost 30 years. He will definitely be missed.”

Patton could not be reached Wednesday afternoon for comment.

Posey said no decision has been made on the hiring process for a new police chief, but did say the issue could come up at a public work session being held at noon today at Jasper City Hall. He said he expected the process would not be lengthy.