Editor’s Note: News Channel 11 is currently not using the real name of the man known as “Robert Voe” in a federal lawsuit filed against Johnson City Police Chief Karl Turner and others pending the availability of official records that would make it legally appropriate to name him.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The City of Johnson City announced Thursday it hired a Connecticut-based law group to investigate the Johnson City Police Department’s (JCPD) handling of sexual assault cases.

A release from city officials named the firm as Daigle Law Group, which will conduct an independent investigation on the city’s police force following a lawsuit and allegations from a former special assistant U.S. attorney that she was fired after pressing the department to look more into a series of rape allegations. Those allegations accused a Johnson City business owner referred to only as “Robert Voe” of sexual assault.

The three-phase investigation, which is expected to take five to six months, is currently in its first phase, launching with a review of sexual assault offense reports dating back to January 2018. Attorney Eric Daigle leads the third-party investigation and has access to all of the JCPD’s sexual assault reports for the past four and a half years.

Daigle will compare how the cases were handled to national standards set by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) as well as compare the handling of the cases to the District Attorney’s Office and JCPD’s general orders.

Johnson City Manager Cathy Ball told News Channel 11 that officials reached out to several organizations before reaching an agreement with Daigle.

“We did talk to other agencies, the FBI, the TBI,” Ball said. “They did not find a reason that they would do the investigation, so we started looking at outside third parties that had national accredited standards.”

The attorney will then interview JCPD personnel, victims and others before assembling a report of the findings. The release noted that the process may be modified as the investigation unfolds.

“I’m pleased that we were able to secure the services of a national expert on these matters, and we are committed to trusting their methods, process and recommendations,” said Ball.

According to its website, Daigle Law Group acts as “a leading law firm specializing in management consulting services in support and development of effective and constitutional policing practices.”

The leading attorney in the investigation, Daigle, practices civil litigation in state and federal courts, his bio on the website states, with an emphasis on municipalities and public officials. Ball said a large part of the firm’s selection came from their location.

“We also wanted to make sure it was someone who did not have any connection to the area,” Ball said. “Or did not have any relationship with folks in the area.”

For more coverage of the ongoing investigation: