Only 3 Jellico police officers remain after vote to keep police chief

Jellico police captain and officers resign after chief placed on probation.
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 7:18 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JELLICO, Tenn. (WVLT) - One East Tennessee police department is down to just three officers after its captain and several other officers resigned during a special meeting.

According to officials, on March 21, a meeting was called regarding a 12-page complaint filed by four officers against Jellico Police Chief Gary Perkins.

During the meeting Cpt. Anthony Lay and patrolmen Robert Travis Foxx and Shayne F. Hurney took their badges off and placed them in front of the Police Committee Chair Joe Creekmore as the committee voted to place both Lay and Perkins on a 90-day probation for the complaint. Lay and the other officers were the ones who filed the complaint but it was backed by 80% of the Jellico Police Department.

“Well we filed a 12 page complaint against Chief Perkins for neglecting his duties for ours safety and for the citizens safety,” said Lay. He and the other officers said Perkins harassed employees and they accused him of misconduct and unsafe working conditions.

The complaint sited other reasons behind wanting Perkins to be fired:

1. Negligence in his work performance duties

2. Unsafe and hazardous working conditions

3. Hostile working environment to employees

4. Harassments to employees

5. Unfair working conditions and treatment of employees

6. Intimidation to employees

7. Misconduct

8. Unfair pay concerning over time

9. Retaliation

Creekmore explained an investigation was conducted where each police officer was interviewed as well as Perkins, however Lay said none of his fellow officers were questioned. During Perkins’ probation period, he will have to meet with the police commission every two weeks to discuss the needs and concerns of the department going forward.

The department was left with only three police officers covering the entire community. They had to reach out to surrounding counties to pick up the slack of having no officers.

After the committee’s investigation, Lay was asked to step down as the police captain and return as a patrolman after the 90-day probation ended. He decided it was best to just quit his job.

”So the reason I turned my badge in is because I’m not going to work for a department that’s going to be unsafe and a department that going to look out for the men under me,” Lay said.

“Chief Perkins was given only a 90 day probation for his actions, and I was told they were going to abolish my position as Captain and give me a 90 day probation period and for what I don’t have a clue. The only friend the Chief had in the department which is the only kid not to file a complaint on him said I forced him to write tickets. What’s funny is no one else says I have ever done that. No one was even interviewed to see if I did that to them or not. But the council did an accurate investigation. LOL. The funny thing is he never filed the complaint until one was filed on his friend Perkins. So I guess four men file a complaint and one gets punished. What a joke it was!!”

Lay posted on his Facebook

Lay said he tried several times to get his officers basic necessities needed for the job and was met with retaliation from Perkins every time.

“Our tickets are $325 for speeding we wrote $55,000 worth of tickets in one month with only three officers and guess what, we can’t get our radars certified. We can’t get bullet proof vests on a grant that’s half off,” Lay said.

Jellico Mayor Sandy Terry declined to speak on camera but told WVLT News she’s asked the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office to help keep people safe.

“I have spoken with sheriff Barton and they are going to be patrolling the area and taking up the slack from the 3 officers that left us, I have no further comment at this time.”

Lay said he plans to take legal action against the city.