FAIRVIEW, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s been nearly three months since two Fairview police lieutenants and an assistant chief were placed on administrative leave with pay.
Since then, Chief Terry Harris has resigned and been rehired. He told News 2 on Friday he plans to retire permanently at the end of June.
News 2 has learned the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department and now the Federal Bureau of Investigation are involved and looking into possible public corruption in the police department and city hall.
The officers on paid leave told News 2 they are not sure what they are being investigated for, and Fairview city leaders will not publicly say.
For the first time on Friday, Lt. Pat Stockdale, one of the suspended officers, broke his silence.
Stockdale has been with the police agency for 12 years. On March 1, he, Lt. Shane Dunning and Assistant Chief Mark Sutton were placed on suspension.
“I’ve done nothing wrong,” Stockdale said. “All I’m guilty of is loving this city and wanting to do right by the citizens, but I feel helpless.”
He continued, “It’s frustrating. I would love nothing more than being back at work, but I don’t know why I am sitting at the house.”
The initial investigation began after former Fairview officer Ronnie Williams was arrested in a Metro prostitution sting on Feb. 1.
Williams was charged the very day he became a full time Fairview officer, and then resigned the next day, raising questions in the police department.
At the time, City Manager Wayne Hall told News 2 he was out of the loop and not given all the information on Williams’ hiring.
Hall was not available for comment on Friday, but Stockdale confirms he has not only been interviewed by the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department but also by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
News 2 spoke with Fairview City Commissioner Shannon Crutcher, who has also heard about the FBI investigation into possible allegations of public corruption, though he cannot confirm it.
When asked about the possible FBI involvement he said, “I think there are big problems in Fairview – has been for some time. Maybe it’s a good thing.”
News 2 asked Crutcher why the three officers have been suspended with pay and why for so long.
Cruther said he is not privy to investigative information but he has not seen any evidence of wrongdoing.
“I have not seen anything to corroborate one way or another,” he said. “I’ve seen nothing to substantiate any guilt on their part at this point, but I am not privy to the sheriff’s report. I know nothing of the sheriff’s investigation other than it is wrapping up.”
According to Crutcher, after Williams’ arrest, five officers, including Police Chief Terry Harris were all initially suspended because of a possible conflict with the internal investigation.
Crutcher said, “Based on the allegations of the two other officers placed on administrative leave with pay, based on allegations that surfaced after the investigation surfaced, we believe that there was a compromise. We thought it was better that we send anyone with allegations against them home until there was a thorough and complete investigation.”
Since that time, two of the officers have returned to work.
“Why has this investigation lasted three months is inexplicable,” Crutcher said. “It needs to come to a resolution and come to a resolution expeditiously. When it started and when they were placed on administrative leave I would have never dreamed that in June we would still be talking about this.”
News 2 has obtained a letter signed by the city manager, the police chief and finance director that says, “Lt. Stockdale’s probationary status has been extended another six months.”
News 2 has also confirmed Lt. Dunning has also received a similar letter from the city.
“I am ready to go back to work and do what I do, which is be a good police officer,” Stockdale said.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating the Fairview Police. What, if anything they have found is unknown.
The city manager or the FBI did not return News 2’s request for comment on the case.