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The top cop at a Tennessee police department has been fired after less than two years on the job amid a widening sexual misconduct scandal.
Burrel “Chip” Davis was terminated from his role on Monday, the La Vergne Police Department said in a statement emailed to Law&Crime. The firing came hours after he was placed on administrative leave earlier that day when the city says it was notified of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint.
Davis was fired because of his apparent role in a sexual misconduct scandal that has engulfed at least eight other members of the La Vergne police force.
“During the course of the investigation into sexual misconduct within LPD, city officials hired an outside third-party investigator to look into exactly what Davis knew, and when,” a statement from the city of La Vergne said. “The third-party investigator concluded Davis was aware of the sexual misconduct within his department and never reported or disciplined any of the officers involved.”
The investigation also concluded that Davis “impeded the initial investigation into sexual misconduct,” contrary to city policy, the statement said, adding that Davis “permitted — if not encouraged — conduct potentially contrary to state and federal law.”
Five police officers were fired after an investigation was launched in December when La Vergne Mayor Jason Cole received information that Officer Maegan Hall was having intimate relationships with multiple members of the police department, including Sgt. Lewis Powell, Officer Patrick Magliocco, Officer Larry Holladay, Detective Seneca Shields and Officer Juan Lugo-Perez, local NBC affiliate WSMV reported. The station also reported that the investigation found that officers were having sex with each other while on duty and on city property.
Transcripts obtained by WSMV revealed that some of the officers exchanged explicit photos and participated in a hot tub party on a police sergeant’s houseboat in which Hall was at least partially undressed.
Hall, Lugo-Perez, Powell, Shields and Sergeant Henry Ty McGowan were fired in connection with the sex scandal, and Holladay, Magliocco, and Officer Gavin Schoeberl were briefly suspended.
“This is a difficult situation for our department and for the city, but I want to be clear that the actions of a few do not represent this department as a whole,” Davis had said in a statement after the firings in January, according to The Associated Press. He said the matter was “unacceptable” and that his department’s “top priority moving forward will include rebuilding the public’s trust.”
LaVergne is located around 20 miles southeast of Nashville and some 230 miles northeast of Memphis.
Cole said that the expansive apparent misconduct has left him speechless.
“There aren’t words to describe the disappointment and frustration felt by myself and other city leaders,” Cole said in the city’s statement. “Officers are held to a higher standard, even more so is their chief. We take the health, safety, and wellbeing of every employee at La Vergne extremely seriously and a culture similar to the one uncovered in these investigations is not acceptable. We will continue to do what needs to be done in order to do what’s right for our officers, our city employees, and our community.”
According to the statement, Deputy Chief Brent Hatcher has been named interim chief of police.
Davis was named police chief of the La Vergne Police Department in July 2021, according to the department’s Facebook page.
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