(SALEM) - Former Salem Assistant Police Chief Reggie Terrell, has become the center of an investigation involving alleged improper handling of Washington County Fraternal Order of Police funds.
The Leader Democrat reports, Prosecutor Dustin Houchin asked the courts to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the allegations.
Circuit Court Judge Larry Medlock appointed Hamilton County attorney Sonia Leercamp. She is charged with gathering information and making a determination regarding the possible filing of charges. Houchin says that process could take weeks.
However, because a public official is involved, state law requires a report to be filed, regardless of whether criminal charges are filed.
Terrell is no longer employed by the city of Salem, he voluntarily resigned in July to accept another job offer.
After the situation was discovered, the FOP Board of Directors met to discuss what President Todd Combs to discuss a "protocol violation."
According to Combs money was dispersed, by Terrell, to help a person in need. However, that disbursement did not follow proper procedure and went to an individual instead of a family.
FOP Secretary Jimmy Strange says Terrell returned the money - less than $1,500 - to the general lodge account after he and Combs saw it was missing and traced what had occurred. Both say Terrell was forthcoming with them when questioned.
Because the FOP is such a visible organization in the community and accepts funds from the public for public service projects, the FOP board felt it important to notify the prosecutor about the incident.
Mayor David Bower, who appointed Terrell assistant police chief in January 2012, says those in public positions "should be held to a higher standard." He says Terrell's position at the police department had not been filled yet.
Mayor Bower will spend time discussing the vacancy and the city's role on the county drug team, with each individual officer before filling the position. Terrell had been employed by the city more than 11 years.
Mayor Bower says both the police department and FOP will be making changes to protocols to maintain the trust of the public.
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