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Troy police under investigation for radio conversation

by Canda HarbaughWestern News
| November 19, 2009 11:00 PM

The future of the Troy Police Department appears shaky after one of its officers and chief unintentionally broadcast a conversation Thursday morning on a frequency accessible to the public.

“There was some disparaging comments made about some officers and others that are no longer with us,” chief Mitch Walters said.

Walters and officer Kit Pierson allegedly spoke of the positive side of being free of a Troy resident who recently passed away and a deputy who was fired late last spring. The conversation also pointed to soon

being rid of Bob McLeod, the only other TPD officer.

The state Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating McLeod concerning an incident two years ago involving the deployment of a Taser, city councilmember and pending mayor Don

Banning confirmed.

The state has launched a separate investigation in Thursday’s incident, according to Banning.

“Everything is being investigated and we won’t have any word till the people doing the investigation let us know,” Banning said. “Everything we have is turned over to the DCI and our insurance people. They know

what’s going on – we don’t.”

Whether any or all of the three men being investigated are suspended is unknown. Troy mayor Jim Hammons did not return calls Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, and was reportedly out of town Friday afternoon.

Sources with the state Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation also could not be reached Friday.

Pierson and McLeod declined to comment over the phone from their homes Friday because, they said, of orders they were given. Troy dispatch would not answer Friday whether or not a Troy police officer was on duty and forwarded questions to the mayor.

Banning was asked if the men had been suspended.

“No, not that I can talk about,” Banning said. “We’ve been told by our insurance company not to talk about it. A lot of people are investigating and all of that information you will have to get from somewhere else.”

Det. Capt. Roby Bowe of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that if TPD officers were suspended, the city would not suffer from lack of law enforcement.

“They’ll still get the same coverage,” he said.

Walters said Friday morning that he is “in the process of retiring.”

He maintains that he is a “whistleblower” into McLeod’s alleged misconduct relating to the deployment of a Taser and that much of the hoopla surrounding Thursday’s broadcast is political.

“This is a battle of good versus evil. I have discovered evidence of a civil rights violation and the county attorney as well as other city officials have covered up,” Walters said. “I’m being labeled as a problem because I’m not letting this thing die.”

Banning denies Walters’ allegations.

“There is no cover-up,” Banning said. “It’s wide out in the open and been turned into the state. They will take care of the investigation.”

Walters said he would use his retirement to prepare to run for sheriff in 2010.

“I think some of its politically motivated because I’m becoming a real threat,” he said.