The Tullahoma police chief resigned after entering a no contest plea Monday to a charge of tampering with evidence, WSMV reported.
Paul Blackwell resigned as chief after letting go of his Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) certification as a condition of his plea agreement, which means he is no longer a certified law enforcement officer, the station said. Blackwell received a four-year sentenced suspended to probation under a deferred judgment, according to 14th Judicial District Attorney General Craig Northcott.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Susan Niland said in December 2018 that Northcott had requested the investigation, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
“The complaint stems from his office’s handling of the investigation of a motor vehicle crash involving the chief’s son in November,” Niland said.
In January, Blackwell and Tullahoma Police Department Capt. George Marsh were placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation, The Manchester Times said. The investigation was handled by the City of Tullahoma; TBI conducted the investigation of misconduct. Jennings Jones, DA of the 16th Judicial District, handled the prosecution after Northcott recused himself.
Marsh, who resigned in February, also gave up his POST certification and will not face any criminal charges related to the investigation, the newspaper said.
Blackwell was appointed Tullahoma police chief on June 4, 2007, according to an archived version of his city biography. Blackwell served in law enforcement since February 1982 when he started with the Norman, Oklahoma Police Department.
Blackwell served in the U. S. Marine Corps from 1974-1976 and in 2009 retired from the U. S. Army Reserves after a total of 25 years service. He is a 2004 graduate of the U. S. Army Sergeant Major Academy, and he retired at the rank of Sergeant Major in the Military Police field, his biography said. He served in the Gulf War.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice Management and Administration from Central Oklahoma State University. He is a graduate of the 243rd session of the FBI National Academy
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Paul Blackwell” by the City of Tullahoma. Background Photo “Tullahoma, Tennessee” by Brian Stansberry. CC BY 3.0.