The longtime chief of police for Union Springs announced Monday night his resignation pending retirement.
The resignation came as the City Council took up Mayor Saint Thomas' recommendation to terminate Chief Clarence Wheeler's employment. Monday night's packed meeting started with the Council going into executive session.
When the Council returned, the chief, through his attorney, made the announcement to step down.
Danny Jackson will serve as the interim chief of police.
The mayor recommended Wheeler's termination Thursday to the Union Springs Police Board after he said Wheeler failed to report significant investigations to his office. He also made allegations Wheeler had an inappropriate relationship and failed to meet other expectations, many that aren't outlined in city policy.
Wheeler sharply denied the allegations and testified against the mayor's claims. Wheeler said the mayor initially reported the community had filed formal complaints against him and the police department. Thursday, Mayor Thomas said the formal complaints didn't exist.
Mayor Pro Tem Earl Hinson, who led Thursday's meeting, said Union Springs has a good police force but lacks leadership. Hinson hired Wheeler 10 years ago when he was serving as mayor and claimed he experienced similar issues with him.
"[Mayor Thomas] had reached his limit. Being called in by the District Attorney's office and more-less got chastised about how the department is run. It's time to make a decision," Hinson said.
The Bullock County District Attorney's Office told WSFA 12 News the police department often left information out of case files, prompting the office to make a form to check off all necessary elements when turning in a case file. The office reported many of those files and forms have been neglected.
The board voted to put the decision before the full council on Monday during its regularly scheduled meeting and adjourned.
Wheeler was met with handshakes by supporters, carrying signs in his favor, and half a dozen police chiefs and officers from nearby cities who attended the hearing in his stead.
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