Perryville police chief to tender resignation

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Perryville city officials discuss the fate of police chief Keith Tarrillion during a closed-session meeting Tuesday, March 12, 2013 in Perryville, Mo. (Fred Lynch)

PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- Perryville's police chief is expected to resign from the department today amid allegations he filed a police report on property loss at his own home using another officer's name in November 2010.

Keith Tarrillion

Keith Tarrillion has been on voluntary leave from his duty since late February, when he became the focus of a professional misconduct claim made by a police department employee.

An investigation was conducted and the city's board of aldermen has since had two special closed session meetings to address the allegations -- the latest being Tuesday night in the board's chambers.

City attorney Thomas Ludwig provided the first details of the claims against the chief. He said after Tuesday's meeting that he presented the board with an outline of a resignation from Trae Bertrand, Tarrillion's attorney.

The city had called in Paul Nenninger, a former Secret Service agent from Cape Girardeau, to look into the matter. The investigation found Tarrillion filed a false report under another officer's name when a small table and hot tub were damaged at his home in 2010.

Ludwig said results of the probe will be sent to the Missouri State Highway Patrol or another agency for further investigation. The Perryville Police Department is precluded from investigating the claim.

"The city has an ethical obligation to turn the charge over to the appropriate investigating authority," Ludwig said.

Tarrillion joined the department in 1993 after an incident in which he was shot and injured while investigating a report of property damage while he was a Perry County Sheriff's Department deputy. He worked his way up in the ranks until he was elected chief in 2002; he was last elected to a four-year term in April 2010 when he ran unopposed.

The city expects to receive Tarrillion's formal resignation after Ludwig meets with the police chief's attorney today. The board will vote whether to approve the resignation at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The board has not taken any action regarding the claim, but a city ordinance allows for removal of an elected officer through suspension by the mayor for several causes, including "any conduct inconsistent with his official character and duty," followed by an investigation by a board-appointed committee and hearing by the board of aldermen. If aldermen find that an officeholder is guilty of charges by a two-thirds vote, the officeholder can be removed permanently through a resolution issued by the mayor.

Ludwig said the incident outlined in the investigation is the only one known to city officials.

"We know of no other police reports that were filed, or no other formal police reports that had any misinformation," he said. "If they exist, we have not uncovered them at this point."

Tarrillion issued a statement via email the same day the city sent a news release announcing his voluntary leave.

"I welcome this review, because it will show that no wrongdoing has occurred," Tarrillion wrote. "At the conclusion of this review, I will return to my duties as your elected city marshal. I have served the city and its residents in a professional and effective manner during my 10 years as chief, and I look forward to serving you in the days and years to come."

Lt. Direk Hunt has been asked to oversee department operations during Tarrillion's absence.

Ludwig said there is no timeline to appoint an interim chief.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

215 N. West St., Perryville, Mo

Map of pertinent addresses

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