Troup City Council members voted unanimously tonight to fire an officer and place their chief on administrative leave for 30 days. Officer Samuel Mark Turner was arrested Thursday and booked on an evidence tampering charge, as well as a charge of delivering marijuana. According to jail records, he's still behind bars.
Chief Chester Kennedy was arrested Friday and charged with tampering, or fabricating physical evidence. He bonded out of the Smith County Jail. Tonight, he was put on un-paid administrative leave.
Residents packed the Troup Independent School District Administration Building waiting on word of what would happen to the long-time law enforcement officers. The mayor and council members were in executive session for about an hour and 15 minutes before they came back with their decision. "One to advise the city administrator to move forward with the termination of Samuel Mark Turner. One was to place Chief Kennedy on administrative leave and the third was to advise the city administrator to move forward to seek new leadership within the police department," said City of Troup Mayor John Whitsell.
"Maybe a little surprise with the decision with Mark. There may be some details that I don't know about," said Troup resident Kenneth Buchanan. "I have confidence in the city council. We'll move forward."
Today, KLTV 7 News obtained the arrest warrants and the search warrants on the investigation. According to the documents, some of the evidence seized by Smith County investigators included prescription medications, bags of marijuana, and weapons.
The three other officers on the police department are still on leave while the investigation continues. Meantime, the Smith County Sheriff's Department will continue to patrol the area. The council plans to hold another meeting Friday night for further discussions on what it will do next.
Oralia Ortega reporting, firstname.lastname@example.org
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