Former Gerald Police Chief Steve Goodwin resigned from his post two hours before a public hearing centered on his removal from the force was scheduled.
Gerald Mayor Cary Parker said Goodwin’s resignation was accepted and the hearing, set for Sept. 15, was canceled, as it was the only item on the agenda.
“Now that we know we have the chief’s position to fill, we’re actively pursuing law enforcement professionals to rebuild our department,” he said.
Parker said the city provided the police chief with the board of aldermen’s intent to proceed with a termination hearing pursuant to state statutes.
During the hearing, the city was to present reasoning and documents outlining why termination is necessary and the chief would have the opportunity to present his own case and witnesses, either on his own or with legal counsel, Parker noted.
Because the chief resigned before the hearing, the reason the city was proceeding with termination will not be released.
“It’s a violation of personal rights to share information in people’s personnel files,” he said.
Goodwin was suspended Aug. 31.
Since that time, the city has had two patrolmen on staff, who are reserve officers, and has requested support from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.
Goodwin’s resignation letter was posted to the “Saving Gerald Police Department” Facebook page, which says its goal is to “take actions to have Chief Goodwin reinstated as acting chief and protect our police force.”
In the letter, dated Sept. 15, Goodwin says he enjoyed the many opportunities being a part of the community has given him. He cited “the politics of Gerald’s governing body” as reason for his resignation.
“For four years now, I have tried to stay (impartial) to the politics ruining this city. I have never picked a so-called side in any of the arguments that I have seen tearing this community apart,” he said.
The former chief said evidence for trials was in jeopardy and that “power-hungry games that go on by the governing body against the police department make it almost impossible for it to succeed.”
He urged citizens to voice their opinion and thanked people for their support.