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State probing Perryville's ex-chief

Friday, October 25, 2013

(Photo)
Keith Tarrillion
PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- As voters prepare to decide how the city will select its future police chiefs, the state attorney general's office is investigating the conduct of Perryville's last chief.

Nanci Gonder, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Chris Koster, said Judge Michael Bullerdieck issued an order Sept. 26 appointing Koster's office to look into allegations against Keith Tarrillion, who resigned as Perryville's police chief in March after being accused of conduct "inconsistent with his official character and duty."

"We were assigned by the judge to investigate," Gonder said.

Meanwhile, Perryville's city attorney again is asking a judge whether the city can make public an investigative report into Tarillion's conduct that a judge initially ordered sealed.

In March, the Southeast Missourian filed an open-records request for documents related to Tarrillion's resignation and the investigation into his conduct.

Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis approved the release of some documents but barred the city from releasing a private investigator's 12-page report on Tarrillion's conduct "until the investigation becomes inactive" as defined by state law.

The status of that investigation has been hazy in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, Perryville city attorney Thomas Ludwig said he didn't know who had the investigation, which city officials passed to the Missouri State Highway Patrol in March.

Responding to a new open-records request by the Southeast Missourian this week, Ludwig said the city's investigation into the matter was complete.

On Thursday, Ludwig sent the Southeast Missourian a copy of a request for "appropriate modification of judgment and permanent injunction" he filed in Perry County circuit court in response to the new open-records request.

In the document, Ludwig asked the court's permission to release the private investigator's report to the newspaper.

The city "stands ready to release the twelve pages upon leave being granted by the court," Ludwig wrote, noting "any further investigation has been conducted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and not the respondent," that the city's investigation is inactive and that the city "has no access to any investigation conducted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol ... and, therefore, has nothing from that investigation to release."

Ludwig also wrote that Perry County Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Hoeh had recused himself from the case and referred it to Koster's office.

The city "has no knowledge of the status of that prosecution," Ludwig wrote.

Meanwhile, Perryville residents are on the brink of deciding how their next chief will be hired.

Because Perryville is organized as a fourth-class city, residents must elect a city marshal to serve as chief unless voters choose to convert the chief's role to an appointed position.

On Aug. 20, the board unanimously approved an ordinance providing for a ballot measure allowing the city to appoint its next chief with input from a five-member citizens' committee.

Tarrillion previously had declined to speak publicly about the circumstances surrounding his resignation, citing legal concerns, but on Tuesday, the Perryville Republic-Monitor published a long letter to the editor in which Tarrillion urged voters to reject the proposed change.

In the letter, Tarrillion said he consistently received positive feedback from city leaders when he was chief and implied the allegations against him were politically motivated.

He said city leaders wanted to make the chief an appointed position for several years -- a move he opposed -- and suggested he had been railroaded out of office.

"The city attorney gave several press releases and made several statements that I would resign or be impeached," Tarrillion wrote. "I think it was pretty clear where things were headed by his statements."

Tarrillion was unavailable for comment Thursday but said in an email message that he would like to discuss the letter next week.

Perryville voters will decide on the ballot measure Nov. 5.

epriddy@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

Perryville, MO


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Article unnecessarily long-winded. imo

-- Posted by gone-fishing on Fri, Oct 25, 2013, at 5:12 AM

Interesting title. LOL

-- Posted by jbpv on Fri, Oct 25, 2013, at 8:59 AM

jbpv,hopefully there was a little nibble on the ear,too.

-- Posted by rocknroll on Fri, Oct 25, 2013, at 9:28 AM

We have lots of laws and lawyers working for Government have to do something they read and read if the Government wants you they will figure out How to bring you down or they will pass laws. They have money to spend to hire more people to raise more Taxes to spend more money

-- Posted by falcon2412 on Fri, Oct 25, 2013, at 10:44 AM

I think he may have done something wrong, but not wrong enough to warrant what has happened to him.

I believe he made some one mad at city hall and now they're doing their best to throw him under the bus. Also I belive it's more than a coincidence that this is brought back to lite so close to the election to determine that city officials can apoint the police chief.

-- Posted by buyer beware on Fri, Oct 25, 2013, at 11:37 AM

I am sure your probably right, but who in this world is perfect. I am sure you could find plenty things in which the city of Perryville officials have done wrong as well.

I agree it's funny how Ludwig and Buerck bring this issue up as the election approaches. As well as why they are out giving trying to sell the appointed issue to the public

-- Posted by big_poppy on Fri, Oct 25, 2013, at 12:51 PM

If you haven't read tarrillion's letter to the editor in the Perryville newspaper I would suggest you do, It was in the Tuesday issue. After reading that article it's obvious Perryville leaders are retailiting against him for speaking out against them.

-- Posted by big_poppy on Fri, Oct 25, 2013, at 7:15 PM

How is that? He forged another officers report. He was the head law enforcement officer and changed or forged another officers report. That is a crime. When you sign someone else's name that is illegal. He can whine all he want but he should have been fired. He should not be getting paid right now.

He threw away a career over a broken hot tub. Ridicilous

-- Posted by cartman89 on Sat, Oct 26, 2013, at 6:23 AM

Where did you see that he forged an officers name on a report? He never signed any officers name to a report cartman, its obvious you have no clue what was done here. The signature on the report was the signature of the approving sergeant.

Each officers has there own log information for a report and they create there own log in information. They are the only person who knows there own log in ID. So before you talk about forging someone's name make sure you have your facts straight.

-- Posted by big_poppy on Sat, Oct 26, 2013, at 8:49 AM


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