Union Springs Police Chief's Job in Question


By Brittany Bivins

The future of a Bullock County police chief is in question. The City of Union Springs' mayor says he wants to fire Police Chief Clarence Wheeler, but Wheeler is fighting the termination. On Thursday, a city council committee met to decide what to do.

The committee had two choices: to secure Police Chief Clarence Wheeler's job and dismiss the mayor's complaint--or to uphold it and pass the matter along for a full city council vote.

In a unanimous vote, the Union Springs police committee upheld Mayor Saint Thomas's petition to fire Police Chief Clarence Wheeler. According to Thomas, Wheeler failed to perform his job, because he allowed two married police officers to work the same shift and failed to update the mayor on police investigations.

Wheeler says those policies aren't made clear by the city, and he denies any wrongdoing. His attorney, Mickey McDermott, says he blames politics for the committee's decision not to dismiss the mayor's complaints. He says he's confident Wheeler will remain police chief. About a dozen of Wheeler's supporters gathered in the courthouse, some holding signs reading "keep our chief."

"I'm glad that the citizens came out and supported me today, like I said, I've done nothing wrong, I've had no citizens complain about me or my actions," Wheeler said.

However, City Councilman Earl Hinson said the committee decided there were enough questions to bring before the full council for a vote.

"The evidence given from the District Attorney's office showed some inability to perform and to run the police department, and so we want the whole city council to determine," Hinson said.

On Monday, the city council will meet, and a final vote on Wheeler's future with the city is expected then. Monday's City Council meeting is open to the public.


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