Former police chief Mark Crowe says he wants the Pembroke City Council to publicly apologize to him and write a formal letter to the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council to clear his name.
Crowe, who served four years as Pembroke’s top cop, spoke Monday after an hour-long “name-clearing” hearing before the Pembroke City Council at City Hall that came more than a month after his tenure as chief ended.
“This hearing was important to me because it’s the first time we’ve been able to get my side of the story out so people will know the facts,” Crowe said after the hearing, noting the apology will “show the citizens of Pembroke that I am a good and honest person.”
He said the city’s letter to POST could keep him from finding other employment.
“That alone can ruin an officer’s career,” he said.
Crowe said that while there may have been issues prior to the public controversy surrounding his awarding in May of a bid to an out-of-city auto repair shop, he believes that action ultimately led to his dismissal.
Though city officials have repeatedly declined to comment calling it a personnel matter, documents obtained through an open records request by the Bryan County News appear to show Crowe was under some scrutiny at least a year before May – though none of the documents date back farther than April 2012 when the police committee met with Crowe to discuss actions by officers and a Facebook posting by Crowe regarding a drug bust.
And if Monday’s hearing was meant to clear up confusion surrounding Crowe’s firing, it didn’t.
Shortly after he spent nearly an hour going over the case, Crowe’s attorney, Hinesville lawyer Jeff Arnold, said the next move depends on the city.
The former chief was fired June 11, according to a letter to Crowe from Mayor Mary Warnell. It was dated the day after the city released a press release saying Crowe resigned.
During Monday’s hearing, Arnold repeatedly said if Crowe resigned, then the city couldn’t fire him and shouldn’t have issued the termination letter to the state or put it in his personnel file, where it was ultimately released to the press under the open records act.
Read more in the July 31 edition of the News.