Cumberland City Council Meeting Heats Up Over Police Department Issues

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

Cumberland's City Council meeting got heated over issues with the city's police department.

Council members said officers were abusing their overtime hours, but Police Chief Derrick Akal says the hours are necessary to protect the city.

After agreeing to monitor overtime hours at the monthly City Council meeting, the council agreed to look into hiring new officers. This came just months after Mayor Loretta Cornett let two officers go: Jeremy Allen and Owen Petrey.

“The reason she gave me whenever it first happened was that because of the economy and gas prices being so high,” says Petrey.

Petrey says Mayor Cornett also told him he was on a 6 month probation.

“There's nothing. I just want to find out some answers. Anything else? It's public comment, can he speak? Does anyone else have anything?” were some of the words exchanged during the City Council meeting when Petrey asked about his termination.

“They're talking about hiring academy trained police officers. Most academy trained police officers are already employed somewhere else,” says Petrey.

“Officer Petrey and Officer Allen wanted to be cops. And they actually worked for substandard pay, in my opinion, to be police officers. So it's still going to be tough to get an academy trained guy,” says Akal.

Police Chief Akal says he would like to see Petrey and Allen back on the force.

“My recommendation would have been not to fire Owen and Jeremy. At that time, we needed those officers as we need them now,” says Akal.

And when Mayor Cornett was asked about why they have not considered returning Petrey and Allen to the police department, Mayor Cornett said, “I have no comment. Motion for adjournment?”

Mayor Cornett declined an interview.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by bill Location: eastern,ky on Jun 12, 2008 at 12:27 PM
    The people will decide during the enxt election...
  • by citizen Location: cumberland on Jun 11, 2008 at 08:27 PM
    It doesn't matter what reason the mayor gave Petry and Allen for their termination. It was within the probationary period and she doesn't have to explain the reason. I think they need to let it go and find another job somewhere else and let the mayor find other officers that have been in law enforcement longer than these boys have been. We need men that will do their job and not harass the citizens of Cumberland just because they have a badge.
  • by councilman Location: cumberland on Jun 11, 2008 at 08:15 PM
    id like to say that no where in the personale manual does it say that 5 patrolman must be hired before recruits are hired any one can request a copy of the personale manual its public record
  • by councilman Location: cumberland on Jun 11, 2008 at 07:59 PM
    the mayor may make a schedual but not the council which was the case tried last night KRS83A.130COUNCIL MEMBERS MAY NOT supervise the day to day operations of city governent or exercise supervisory authroity over city employes
  • by bill Location: eastern,ky on Jun 11, 2008 at 02:50 PM
    Leave Law enforcement to the proffesionals. Wheres the mayors qualifications on law enforcement adminstration????????????
  • by A concerned citizen on Jun 11, 2008 at 12:30 PM
    To Cornett Supporter: This isn't about her rights. It's about her LIES. She LIED many times. Elected officials must answer to their constituents. She doesn't. She lied to Mr. Petrey, to the council and to the people.
  • by A concerned citizen on Jun 11, 2008 at 11:31 AM
    Ms. Cornett needs to keep her stories straight. She should learn that lying will soon catch up with her. She should also be more observant in that meeting dates and times are posted. She just doesn't like the bad press that she's created by letting go two officers for her own personal reasons. If she'd allow the police chief to do his job, it would make her look a whole lot better. She isn't trained in law enforcement and should stay out of that area of government. She is an administrator. A good administrator listens to their department heads. A bad administrator goes off half cocked and screws it all up. By now those officers could have been through the academy. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if one day there is no law enforcement in Cumberland. People can only tolerate so much, then they go elsewhere to find employment. Grow up and be a leader Ms. Cornett. You're not a very good mayor.
  • by Cornett Supporter Location: Cumberland on Jun 11, 2008 at 09:50 AM
    In regards to recent articles in the Harlan Daily, the Tri-City News, and the Playhouse regarding the termination of former Cumberland City Police Recruits (Officers who have not been through the academy). Mayor Cornett had every right to dismiss the two recruits. In the Cumberland City Personnel Manuel adapted Jan. 2006, Section 5: Conditions of Employment Section 5.1: Initial Employment Period (Introductory): Subsection C states A new employee may be dismissed without right of appeal during the original introductory period. Also, in the Cumberland Pay Plan: Assignment of Classifications to Pay Grades under the Police Department, the department shall have a Police Chief, a Sergeant, 5 Patrolman, and 1 Recruit. Therefore, until the 5 Patrolman positions have been filled, they recruit position can not be filled, let alone have 2 recruits on staff. In regards to the posts about Mayor Cornett not being allowed to make out the police department schedule: in the duties of the Mayor from the Kentucky League of Cities one of the responsibilities of the Mayor is to make out the schedules workers and departments, so therefore; Mayor Cornett has every right to make out the schedule for the Police Department.
  • by Johnny Location: Danger Fork KY on Jun 11, 2008 at 09:05 AM
    Sounds to me like Ms. Mayor should be person enough to answer the questions. These elected officials seem to be pretty tight lipped anymore when it comes to answering to what they have done.


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