Perryville police chief investigation complete, resolution could come soon

Thursday, March 7, 2013
Keith Tarrillion

PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- The investigation into professional misconduct claims leveled against police chief Keith Tarrillion could be resolved as early as Monday, Perryville city officials said Wednesday. But the fate of the 20-year department veteran remains far from certain with a tight-lipped group of city leaders who won't speak publicly about the nature of the allegations.

The Perryville Board of Aldermen met behind closed doors for more than an hour Tuesday night to review evidence compiled during a two-week investigation into claims a police department employee made last month. The claims, kept vague in a city news release announcing them, only said they were "inconsistent with his official character and duty."

No decision was reached after the closed meeting, officials said after scouring evidence and conducting interviews with police personnel.

Tarrillion, who is on a voluntary leave of absence, posted his reaction to his Facebook page Tuesday: "Not the best of evenings. The Blues blow a 4-2 lead in the third period and still no decision on when I can return to work. Twenty days and counting."

Tarrillion could not be reached for further comment.

Mayor Debbie Gahan declined to discuss the personnel matter and again referred questions to Perryville city attorney Tom Ludwig, who conducted the investigation.

Ludwig said the board has asked him to meet with Trae Bertrand, Tarrillion's Cape Girardeau lawyer. Bertrand is unavailable until Monday at the earliest, Ludwig said, adding that he intends to meet with Bertrand as soon as their schedules allow. No decision will be reached, Ludwig said, until at least the day of the meeting and more likely the next day.

A release is to be prepared after the meeting of the lawyers, Ludwig said, noting it could be a joint statement. But Ludwig wouldn't elaborate as to what the possibility of a joint statement bodes for Tarrillion's future with the department.

"I don't want to speculate on possibilities," Ludwig said. "A better procedure is to meet with the chief's lawyer and do the work then."

The investigation was launched after a misconduct claim was made by a subordinate last month. A member of the Perryville Police Department who filed the complaint described Tarrillion's alleged wrongdoing as being "inconsistent with his official character and duty."

Ludwig didn't offer much when asked how the department has fared in Tarrillion's absence.

"The department is functioning," Ludwig said.

Tarrillion was elected police chief in 2002 after joining the department almost 10 years before that.

Lt. Direk Hunt was asked to oversee operations in Tarrillion's absence.


Pertinent address:

120 N. Jackson St., Perryville, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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