Mayor Sets Record Straight on Valley Police Department Controversy

By Lindsey Connell - bio | e-mail

VALLEY, AL (WTVM) -  It's a story that's been making headlines all week- Valley Police Chief Michael Taylor has been suspended after a claim was filed against the city, alleging inappropriate action in the arrest of a juvenile. This week, city officials started looking into what really happened.

"There's been a misconception on that investigation. It's called an administrative inquiry," said Mayor Arnold Leak.

That inquiry revolves around a claim filed by lawyer for a Valley High School teen who was arrested April 2nd and charged with making terrorist threats at the school.

In the document, it alleges false arrest, imprisonment, and mental anguish along with other violations and asks the city to pay half a million dollars in damages.

The mayor says all of this is not about the chief- it's about the case.

"It involved terrorist threats- Columbine-type things. It may have been a prank, it may not have been but the arrests were made on that basis. The juveniles involved- basically their families have claimed the arrest was not made properly and so forth," added Leak.

It just so happens Chief Taylor's contract with the city is up for renewal- an issue the mayor says is also separate from the inquiry and claim.

Right now, the town's leaders are focused on getting to the bottom of things.

"What we want to find out is whether there were any violations of any types of policies or procedures," Leak said.

In the meantime, the chief is on two-week administrative leave.

Valley's mayor says the independent investigation should wrap up sometime next week.

Meanwhile, the city manager is acting as interim chief.