City Administrator: Greeneville Assistant Police Chief terminated after departmental review

Investigations

Study found employees generally displeased with morale

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Greeneville Assistant Police Chief Michael Crum was terminated from his position on Monday, according to City Administrator Todd Smith.

His dismissal follows a department-wide review by Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), at the request of the City Administrator, which found employees at the Greeneville Police Department were not satisfied with the work environment due to alleged gender-based discrimination against women, illegal practices, favoritism, and other factors.

The investigation consisted of responses from around 55 Greeneville Police Department employees, which is nearly the entire department, and MTAS detailed their findings. MTAS noted that interviews with the chief and assistant chiefs did not match the report’s findings.

While the study reportedly found that six to seven employees were “quite supportive of the Department as a whole,” MTAS notes that most of those employees are on the same shift. The rest on the employee interviews uncovered consistent complaints with how the department was being managed.

In documents obtained by News Channel 11, survey responses identified Crum as a main contributor to the dissatisfaction, with several employees claiming he “purposefully belittled” employees living with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We had quite a few employees mention they would never attend the Christmas party again because of how severely one officer was belittled there last year. More than one employee states, “[Crum] mocks me, and I don’t appreciate it”…We heard multiple instances where employees have been belittled in front of others, yelled, or cursed at, etc.”

MTAS study on Greeneville Police Department

Crum was described by employees to MTAS as “evil” and “polarizing,” among other recounts, according to the study.

In addition, multiple responses allege Crum commented on women working within the police force and accused him of making “discriminatory remarks to females.”

Several responses allege that female department employees were barred from attending desired police conferences and accuse Crum of preventing female officers from attending the Women in Law Enforcement training because “there is not a comparable training just for men.”

MTAS reported that surveyors heard multiple times that Crum asked a detective to reopen the background investigation on a female applicant whose scores placed her high on the hiring list specifically to “find something that would disqualify her.”

Findings from the study revealed that several employees alleged Crum denied a take-home vehicle and pay raise to a female employee. It is alleged to MTAS he also made comments such as, “Women don’t belong in a police department” and made sexual remarks in front of female employees.

Another finding noted that “on one occasion the Chief and Assistant Chief ordered a patrolman to dismiss 17 parking tickets,” and alleged that officers had been ordered “not to write parking tickets in certain sections of town.”

This is one of the alleged illegal practices pointed out by the MTAS investigation. News Channel 11 asked District Attorney General Dan Armstrong about whether this could result in any charges. Armstrong said if the law was broken, then his office will investigate it and consider criminal charges as necessary.

The study also accuses Crum of illegally “routinely [scheduling] auxiliary officers to work more than 20 hours per week,” which clashes with standards set by the Training Commission. Moreover, the MTAS report noted the following in regard to the town’s auxiliary officers:

“Two supposed influential people in town were appointed as auxiliary officers in order that they could carry a weapon in places where they were not otherwise allowed to do so,” the report reads. “This was done without them being held to the same auxiliary standards required by state law and the Department itself.”

MTAS’ report goes on to state that multiple officers reported that they were asked to write memos instead of logging crimes into the TIBRS system, which “makes it artificially look as though crime is going down.” The findings also note that the drug-testing policy within the department does not appear to be followed consistently.

The average employee rated the department’s morale as a 3 or 4 on a 1-to-10 scale, with many rating morale as low as 1 or 2. The average score of the moral resulted in a 4.27 out of 10.

The hostile work environment and gender-based discriminatory behaviors will no doubt emerge as legal issues if they continue. The same is true for the improper use of the auxiliary workforce. It will only take one significant issue caused by an untrained auxiliary officer to impact the town’s liability in a serious way.

MTAS study on Greeneville Police Department

MTAS determined some positives about the department, including general respect for the Chief of Police, accreditation, “excellent equipment and technology” and occasional positive motivation notes from management. The study also notes that some employees found Crum to be a “good ‘project manager.'”

The MTAS listed final recommendations for the department moving forward, including the following:

  • Assistant Chief issues must be addressed immediately
  • Numerous factors contributing to favoritism must be addressed
  • Discrimination against women must be stopped
  • Management must not ask that tickets be dismissed
  • Questionable management of auxiliary officers unity must be fixed
  • Civil service system must be fixed
  • All crimes should be entered into the TIBRS

Greeneville City Administrator Todd Smith asked the University of Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service to look into the police department. He told News Channel 11 Tuesday,

“In September of this year, The Town of Greeneville received a written complaint from an employee of discrimination and harassment within the Greeneville Police Department.  The City Administrator and Human Resources initiated an internal review to include a department wide voluntary survey as a result of the complaint.  After reviewing the survey results, the City Administrator requested the University of Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Services (MTAS) to conduct an external review of the department which was completed in November of this year.  The Town is committed to serving the citizens of Greeneville and is taking the results of the MTAS review to make improvements to the Police department.  Greeneville is addressing every opportunity to improve the services the Greeneville Police Department provides to citizens every day.”

Todd Smith

News Channel 11 reached out to Crum for comment on the allegations and his termination. He responded only that he had no comment at this time due to advice of legal counsel.

Greeneville Chief of Police Tim Ward declined an interview Tuesday afternoon.

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