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Perryville aldermen accept Tarrillion's resignation

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

(Photo)
Keith Tarrillion
An end to a 20-year career with the Perryville Police Department became official Tuesday night as the city's board of aldermen unanimously accepted the resignation of Keith Tarrillion.

Tarrillion joined the department in 1993 and has served as the city's chief since he was elected in 2002.

Until Tuesday, Tarrillion had been on voluntary leave for several weeks as the city investigated a claim from a subordinate that in late 2010 he allegedly created a property damage report using another officer's name. The report covered an investigation into vandalism of a hot tub and a small table at his home. As a result of the report, Tarrillion received nearly $5,700 from his insurance company, city officials have said.

He has said he did nothing wrong in regard to the report. The city plans to turn over findings of its investigation to the appropriate agency for potential criminal proceedings.

City officials would not release any details of the resignation agreement approved by the board Tuesday, citing a restraining order placed on them Monday by Circuit Judge Ben Lewis to withhold certain documents and information surrounding the resignation. The restraining order was issued in response to a petition filed by Tarrillion's attorney, Frank C. "Trae" Betrand III, after a Southeast Missourian reporter sent a Sunshine Law request to the city of Perryville last week, asking for documents pertaining to the investigation.

Aldermen had planned to discuss the resignation agreement in an open session meeting Tuesday, but they did not do so because of the court order.

"I was going to present on this issue, and put this on open session because we have an agreement to vote on tonight, but yesterday we received a temporary restraining order signed by the circuit judge preventing us from discussing or to disclose anything related to that order," city attorney Thomas Ludwig told the board before its members reviewed the agreement and passed an emergency ordinance making the resignation official.

A petition for preliminary injunction is set for a March 27 hearing.

Alderman Randy Leible on Tuesday questioned Ludwig about whether all the pages of the resignation agreement would be made public record, but he did not indicate a reason for his concern.

Ludwig said documents will be released upon direction by the court.

"The city stands ready to disclose whatever the law requires and that will be determined by the judge on the 27th," he said.

Tarrillion said in the petition requesting the restraining order that records requested by the newspaper constitute a "closed record" under the Sunshine Law because it "contains information that is reasonably likely to pose a clear and present danger to the safety of any victim, witness, undercover officer, or other person; or jeopardize a criminal investigation, including records which would disclose the identity of a source wishing to remain confidential."

Paul Nenninger, a former Secret Service agent from Cape Girardeau, conducted an investigation into the subordinate's claim by request of the city.

Neither Tarrillion nor his attorney were present for the board's vote Tuesday night, but Tarrillion did respond to an email sent by the Southeast Missourian after the decision.

"The only thing I would like to add is that this has been a difficult time for me and my family and we greatly appreciate all the support we have received," he wrote.

Tarrillion submitted his resignation March 13.

Mayor Debbie Gahan said the board has not yet vetted how it will begin the process to replace Tarrillion, but members likely will begin that discussion at the board's regular meeting. Perryville's ordinances provide that a vacancy in any elective city office is filled when the mayor convenes a special meeting of the board at which a successor to the vacated office is selected.

The person who is appointed would serve until the next regular municipal election.

Lt. Direk Hunt currently is overseeing departmental operations.

Several residents and members of the Perryville Police Department attended Tuesday's meeting.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

215 N. West St., Perryville, MO

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I wonder if he will get to keep his LAGERS retirement benefits? If so, he will not need to worry about a job.

-- Posted by Little Joey on Wed, Mar 20, 2013, at 1:28 PM


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Map of pertinent addresses