Sharon police chief, officer dismissed

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Police Dept. computers, gun safe ‘wiped clean’

Shannon Taylor
MVP Investigative Reporter

The City of Sharon is down four police officers this week after two officers, including Chief Mark Kimsey, were fired by the board of mayor and aldermen and another two officers resigned soon afterward.


The series of actions related to the terminations and resignations are under scrutiny and have prompted complaints to various organizations.


In a special-called meeting held June 5, the Sharon Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to terminate Police Chief Mark Kimsey and Officer Kenny Rodriguez. Just prior to that, this reporter was told by sources that the board was going to vote to terminate Kimsey and Rodriguez.


Rodriguez was reportedly terminated from his position after he pursued a motorcycle beyond the city limits of Sharon. Kimsey was reportedly terminated due to several complaints via telephone calls, according to Sharon Mayor Donna Stricklin.


According to the Tennessee Open Meetings Act, multiple members of a governing body are prohibited from meeting privately to deliberate towards or make decisions on public business. Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service, an organization that provides services and training for municipal management, and the state’s Office of Open Records Counsel were notified following the special-called board meeting.


In the days following Kimsey and Rodriguez’s termination, two city police officers turned in their badges and resignation letters. Those officers are Nolan Roberts, who also works for the Weakley County Sheriff’s Department and Officer Jeffrey Weaver.


Weaver stated that he was “ordered” by Stricklin shortly after Kimsey’s and Rodriguez’s termination to “patrol with my radio turned off and drive by any crimes I saw being committed.” Weaver said he went to Kimsey for advice following the order and was told that order would have put both him and the city under liability of a lawsuit.
Weaver said he told Stricklin he wouldn’t be party to that and turned in his badge and resignation.


“I care about the citizens of Sharon a lot and I couldn’t just ignore someone if they needed my help,” Weaver said.
The information regarding Stricklin allegedly issuing the questionable order comes directly after she stated at the called meeting last week that numerous calls and complaints regarding the police department were increasing the city’s liability.


A Sharon citizen, Monica La Rock, told this reporter later that, “Donna called us the week before the called meeting wanting to see if we had any complaints about Mark and we told her ‘no.’”


When asked whether Stricklin had called other citizens asking the same question, she did not respond for comment.
Kimsey and two anonymous sources claimed that as Kimsey was packing up his personal items following the meeting on June 5, Sharon alderman Joe Jones was “rifling through the bins filled with personal belongings of Kimsey.” Kimsey and the two sources also claimed Jones was “adamant about wanting into the evidence room, wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and went to Stricklin,” who reportedly asked Kimsey for the key.


Kimsey and sources stated that it wasn’t until Officer Adam Ledezma, who was also present, advised them that only certified officers were allowed in the room that they left and went into Officer Rodriguez’s office, where sources stated that Jones was going through papers and drawers in both Rodriguez’s and Weaver’s desks. A short time later, the same source reportedly saw Jones in Kimsey’s office behind the desk there as well.


Kimsey and Rodriguez told this reporter that they had not yet received their separation notice, which per Tennessee law is required to be given within 24 hours of termination. They also expressed concerns about whether their termination had been reported to P.O.S.T. yet, per P.O.S.T. requirements. Stricklin has not responded for comment regarding this.


This reporter reached out to more than 20 Sharon citizens regarding Kimsey’s termination and citizens expressed concerns over the loss of Kimsey and stated he had done nothing but good things for the city. The meeting was packed to the brim with attendees who flocked to Kimsey and his wife, Jenni, after the meeting, inside city hall and followed them outside to express their concerns and support.


Weakley County Sheriff Terry McDade said the sheriff’s department is helping answer calls for Sharon until they find another police chief.

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