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.