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South Pittsburg leaders vote to demote Police Chief

Coming just months after being promoted to Chief of Police in South Pittsburg, city leaders voted Tuesday night to demote Chief Ryan Meeks to the rank of sergeant after reccomendation by the City Administrator on Tuesday night. The sergeant position has been listed as vacant on the city’s website.

The demotion comes, presumably following a situation that happened over the weekend involving an arrest by another officer that’s under investigation by the TBI for alleged police brutality.

When asked for comment, City Administrator Gene Vess stated that personnel issues would require consultation with the city attorney before a public statement was made.

Mayor Virgil Holder and attorney Billy Gouger both acknowledged that they were not fully aware of the circumstances surrounding the recommendation by Vess.

Regardless of the lack of information, the vote by the board was unanimous.

Meeks, who had served as a lieutenant for the department for a time, became the interim chief following the termination of Robert “Bobby” Simpson in January, before officially being sworn-in as chief in March.

The commission appointed Lieutenant Brenda Roth to serve as interim police chief until the position is filled.

It was stated at the meeting that Meeks will return to the position of sergeant and night patrolman. He will also continue to monitor the department’s involvement with the Governor’s Highway Safety program, write grants and keep records for the department.

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