BRPD officer releases statement contradicting chief's allegation - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

BRPD officer releases statement contradicting chief's allegation

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Monday's termination hearing enabled fired Baton Rouge Police Chief Dewayne White to address Mayor Kip Holden's accusations and allowed White to make a few of his own.

"When you ordered me to obtain your permission to make any personnel decisions, including disciplinary decisions, you took over the management of my department," said White.

Management that White claims Holden undermined when he made a personnel move involving  Baton Rouge Police Union President Corporal Chris Stewart.

"Your micromanagement of my department began in earnest when I transferred union president Chris Stewart to the pistol range," said White.

Stewart fired back, releasing a letter that attacked White on a variety of fronts. In one section Stewart said:

Chief White made baseless accusations against several officers including myself in an effort to divert attention from his own alleged misconduct.

During the termination hearing, White also made several references to Stewart's attendance record over his 16-year career with the office.

Here is Cpl. Chris Stewart's statement that was released to the media Tuesday afternoon:

I am an exemplary officer and have conducted myself with the utmost professionalism throughout my career. I have been President of Local 237 for approximately 6 years and have 23 outstanding years of service as a law enforcement officer (16 with BRPD, 5 with Livingston Sheriff and 2 with the Albany Police Department). I am also a former member of the United States Marine Corps, having served my country honorably for approximately six years. I am a veteran of Desert Shield/Storm and received the National Defense Service Medal and Service Deployment Ribbon. Attached is my discharge document, which is also part of the Department's pre employment file and easily accessible to Chief White.

During my 16 year tenure with BRPD, I have served with distinction in several bureaus, including uniform patrol, detectives, and professional standards. I have received numerous commendations while working in all of these areas and maintain an impeccable record. My time sheets, attendance records and work ethic have never been questioned. My attendance has been approved by every supervisor, as reflected by my time sheets. My performance evaluations reflect that I am a model officer.

I have personally participated in several pre-disciplinary hearings conducted by Chief White. During those hearings, Chief White not only required officers to answer his questions, but also subjected them to questioning by his Command Staff and the Department's attorney. Chief White refused to participate in the same process he required of his officers. Rather than subject himself to public questioning, Chief White made baseless accusations against several officers, including myself in an effort to divert attention from his own alleged misconduct.

He chose to run out of the hearing instead of participating in the process he used throughout his tenure.

My career is an open book. My record speaks for itself. The documents clearly contradict Chief White's claim that my attendance and work ethic are an issue.

Furthermore, statements made by Chief White during the Baton Rouge Fire and Police Civil Service meetings of December 20, 2012 and January, 2013 contradict the claims he made on February 18,2013. During both of those public meetings, which were recorded and can be obtained from the Board, Chief White commended me for my work.

The attached documents clearly reflect that I participated in the pre-employment interview and hiring process established by Chief Greg Phares. All subsequent Chiefs of Police, except Chief White, have used this process.

It is both sad and unfortunate that I must respond to baseless accusations in a public setting. It is unconscionable for a Chief of Police to publicly attack me and other officers without any supporting facts. I will gladly compare my attendance record at BRPD to Chief White's. Rather than publicly question Chief White's many absences from work and promotional ceremonies, my fellow officers and I addressed our grievances through the internal process established by the City and Department.

Like families, no police department is perfect. BRPD is composed of over 600 employees. From time to time, it experiences issues with some of its employees.

All public and private entities experience these issues. Chief White attacked the integrity of BRPD as an entity. He made vague and false references to isolated incidents in an attempt to disparage the character and integrity of over 600 men and women. He failed to mention, however, that the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies accredited the department in 1996 and reaccredited it in 2001,2004,2007 and 2010. Furthermore, he failed to mention that "CALEA" declared BRPD a "Flagship" agency in 2010.. According to its website, www.calea.org, BRPD is one of 22 agencies nationwide to receive such an award. All agencies should strive for improvement. Chief White's failure, however, to acknowledge the national accreditation of this Department and ignore objective facts is an insult to Mayor Holden, Chief Greg Phares, Chief Pat Englade, Chief David Whatley, Chief Jeff LeDuff , Chief Charles Mondric and the men and women who put their lives on the line every day for the citizens of this city.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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