City council to hear police force appeals
In what could be the final round in the ongoing disciplinary situation involving the Baldwin City Police Department, each of the officers will meet with the Baldwin City Council during executive session prior to Monday's meeting.
On Dec. 7, City Administrator Larry Paine suspended four officers and gave oral reprimands to two others. Police Chief Steve Butell was suspended for three days and the other three officers received one-day suspensions. The entire police force appealed the disciplinary items and the process used to dole out the discipline.
In a series of responses since then, the city has answered the appeals and the decision was made for the final appeal to be before the entire council. However, it was also decided that each of the officers would appear individually before the council instead of as a group.
The discipline resulted from findings compiled by Special Counsel Mark Bennett after an extensive investigation into the department launched in July. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas Highway Patrol also participated in the investigation, which was prompted after allegations of misconduct were leveled against a former officer, G.H. Rhea. Rhea resigned several days after the investigation was announced.
The city council is also considering releasing the "Bennett Report," or at least parts of it, that outline why the disciplinary action was taken.