The future of the tiny police department is in doubt in Burns, Tn., a town of 1,300 where life moves at a slow pace and cows graze within 200 yards of city hall, reports the Tennessean. One recently resigned officer is a convicted felon. Some are not properly trained, and some have no training. Sometimes when citizens have called for assistance, the police officer on duty couldn’t be located. Those are among findings of a state agency that oversees police officers’ conduct and training. The state of Tennessee said Friday it was threatening to strip the entire force of its police powers and disband it – the first such action in the history of the state.
One resident, who couldn’t get the police department to respond when he saw burglars breaking into the home across the street last year said, “I’m all for the sheriff’s department taking over.” Yet a business owner supported Ed “Shot” Grove, who has been both mayor and police chief for 18 years. An investigator for the state Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (POST) said Grove presented “an air of total disregard for POST rules and the POST Commission as a whole.” James “Cheyenne” Owens, a convicted felon, was a part-time Burns policeman. He quit Friday, along with fellow officer Joe Daugherty, who is running for mayor. It’s against state law for a felon to work in law enforcement. Federal statutes prohibit a convicted felon from carrying a weapon.