Ridgetop Has No Police Force After Chief Resigns

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Ridgetop Police Chief Bryan Morris has reportedly resigned his position, which means the city currently does not have a police force.

All this because of what Reason.com calls “a disagreement over illegal parking tickets.”

“Morris submitted his resignation on Friday afternoon, effectively leaving the city without a police department,” Reason.com reported.

“The city will now search for a replacement police chief. In the meantime, the Robertson County Sheriff’s Department will take over law enforcement operations in the city.”

As reported in July, five former police officers in Ridgetop, including Morris, filed a federal lawsuit after city officials suddenly did away with the city’s police department.

“The lawsuit says the Board of Aldermen and Mayor Tony Reasoner are waging a retaliatory war against the department for investigating allegations that lawmakers destroyed evidence and issued illegal ticket quotas. It says the city falsified data for the budget, which the city said was too constrained to fund police,” The Star Telegram reported.

“A court order reopened the department; the city allowed only Morris to remain employed. Court documents say at least one 911 call has gone unanswered since last month.”

As The Tennessee Star reported in June, the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government criticized how Ridgetop’s mayor and aldermen offered little to no transparency when alerting the public that they might vote to do away with the city’s police department.

As reported, Ridgetop City Council members voted to do away with the city’s police force because of what some people say is the mayor’s hurt ego and his vendetta against Morris.

As The Star reported in March, Morris said Reasoner and Vice Mayor McCaw Johnson were out to cripple his department.

TCOG Executive Director Deborah Fisher said on the organization’s website that the public notice given for this board of aldermen meeting was vague.

Reasoner announced the dissolution in a special-called meeting, saying the city of about 2,000 residents could no longer afford a police department.

Morris said Reasoner and Johnson demanded his officers issue a certain number of tickets every month to generate revenue for the town. Morris then made this information public.

What’s more, city officials began changing the locks on the police department’s front doors before city council members even gathered to take their vote, Morris said.

Without the police, only sheriff’s deputies at the county level could respond to all calls for law enforcement out of Ridgetop.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]

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