Police Chief Robert King, while giving his department head report, said he was asked last week to resign and that rules changes within the police department being considered by the Council were going to be put into place due to his refusal to grant that request.
“I’m just requesting that I can do my job that I was appointed to,” King said.
Hart said he asked King to resign on June 10.
“There is no trust between me and the chief at this point,” he said. “If there is no trust, there is no integrity and there is no loyalty. I think you have to have that when it comes to a mayor and police chief.”
At one point in the meeting, Hart said he had asked for King’s resignation, but he’s not given it yet.
King responded with, “I’m not.”
The rules King mentioned were considered and adopted unanimously by the Council Thursday night. The policy and procedure changes made included:
• It will be mandatory that every police officer, including the police chief, wear their protective bulletproof vest while on duty at all times, whether in Carbon Hill City Hall or in a patrol car.
• Blue jeans will no longer be part of the city’s uniforms.
• It will be mandatory that all police officers, including the police chief, be out on patrol during their shift, and paper work should be done within the last two hours of the shift. The only exception would be if there is an arrest. The mayor and council members expect to see everyone on patrol, going into every business and being seen in the neighborhood.
• It will be mandatory that all police officers are to complete the primary maintenance form on each police car daily. The police chief will be required to collect the forms monthly to be filed with the city clerk.
Hart also said he felt the police cars needed to be parked at city hall, and officers will have to drive their personal vehicles after their shifts.
“We’ve spent $5,000 working on police cars since February,” Hart said. “We need to park the cars at city hall until we get enough money to renew our fleet.”
King said when he was hired that use of the car was a part of the deal.
“I’m subject to being called any time of day, and I think it would be dangerous to have to park my car,” he said.
Hart said he was elected to run the city on a day-to-day basis, and the decision to park the patrol cars was what he felt was best for the city.
“I’m my own man and I make my own decisions,” he said. “I make those decisions so I can lay my head down at night and go to sleep. I’ll get prices on new cars and when we are able to get them, we’ll go back to letting them take the cars home.”
The motion to park the patrol cars at city hall passed 3-2 with Scott Wright and Jack Hinds voting against.
In another change to the police department, Wright suggested eliminating the assistant chief position held by Tom Sorrell.
“It’s been said tonight that the assistant chief does all the work,” he said. “If that’s the case, let’s do away with that position and then there is only one man in charge.”
Before the council voted on the idea, Sorrell asked about a shortage of working hours.
“I’m a patrolman first, that is just a title,” he said. “I’m concerned because in this new schedule, I’m only working 36 hours per week. I would like to be sure to get 40 hours each week.”
Hart, who is now making the police schedule, said some weeks police officers will only work 36 hours, but other weeks they will work 48 hours to make up the difference.
“I live from week-to-week like a lot of people do,” Sorrell said. “I need 40 hours every week.”
The council voted 4-1 to eliminate the assistant chief position. Hinds was the lone vote against the measure. Sorrell’s lack of hours was not addressed.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Sorrell said the changes will hurt the police department.
“What you guys have just done is a detriment to the Carbon Hill Police Department,” he said. “Bob King has integrity being reproach. People who don’t like him because he won’t pull a ticket or overlook certain people when it comes to arrests.”
Hart responded by saying, “He opened this box, and I had to answer.”