Police Chief Begins New Job

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

The new police chief in Cumberland says he's ready to move forward despite an ongoing controversy about how the last chief was demoted.

WYMT's Dara Rees talked with the new chief and the former one on Monday night.

Retired state police trooper and former Leslie County Sheriff Fred Davidson says he was pretty much hired on the spot on Friday as the new chief for the Cumberland Police Department.

On his first day on the job, Davidson says he hopes he can do what's best for the city.

Fred Davidson says he spent most of the day getting to know his new patrolmen.

“I enjoy law enforcement. It will be something I've not done for a while and I'll be anxious to get started,” Chief Davidson said.

The former chief, Derek Akal says the news of his demotion came as a shock, and is now making it tougher on his family.

“It's rough, because it's going to take some food off the table. It's changed a lot of things, going from chief to patrolman, it's kinda humiliating but I'll survive, it's just a bump in the road and I'll move on,” Akal said.

Akal says the support from the city is overwhelming and people come up to him daily showing their support and wishing him the best.

“I filed a grievance with the city and hope to be heard in the next couple of weeks. Other than that all I can do is come to work like I'm supposed to,” Akal said.

Other Cumberland officers say the stress of the situation is making it harder to do their jobs, but the new chief says he doesn't expect there to be any problems in the department.

“These guys are professional. They've been through the academy, well trained, most of them's got 4-5 years experience. So I don't foresee any problems at all,” Chief Davidson said.

With the hiring of Davidson, the number of officers in the Cumberland department now stands at five.

City council members say with the current budget, they can hire one more officer.

Former Chief Derrick Akal says he hopes to have the grievance hearing by the end of this month.

We tried reaching Mayor Loretta Cornett by phone, but she was not available for comment.

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