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FPD veteran employee demoted from deputy chief to lieutenant

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Assistant Police Chief awaits disciplinary hearing over alleged unauthorized release of information to media
Longtime Franklin Deputy Police Chief Michael Jordan has been demoted to lieutenant within the police department’s patrol division, Police Chief David Rahinsky confirmed last night.
 
The decision to demote Jordan, Rahinsky said, is the outcome of an internal investigation that concluded that Jordan divulged information to the news media about a pending police investigation.
 
“Mike Jordan is receiving a five-day suspension and he also will receive a demotion from deputy chief down to lieutenant. In law enforcement, a demotion is even more significant than it is in the civilian (workplace).”
 
“We discussed this with the human resource’s director and the city administrator and with Mike Jordan’s rank within the department and the fact that it wasn’t just one time that he made poor choices. He had shared information with the media prematurely in instances where investigations were still ongoing.”
 
Franklin has three deputy police chief positions that serve the department of 280 employees, including 130 sworn officers.
 
Jordan, who recently participated in a personnel hearing before a panel that included city personnel director Shirley Harmon, city administrator Eric Stuckey and Rahinsky, will experience a reversal in his near 35-year career just as he approaches retirement age.
 
Deputy Chief Bruce Bateman, also a longtime member of the force, retired in January earlier this month and was honored for his service during a reception held at department headquarters. 
 
Bateman, formerly over administration, and Jordan, who has been over patrol and operations, have worked alongside each other for decades.
 
 Jordan, whose early career included a stint as a Metro police officer, joined the Franklin force in the mid-1980s.
 
The Franklin resident and city employee said during a December interview with the Herald that he was hopeful that the city would find that his actions were within departmental policy. At that time, he said he did not plan to seek legal assistance in the matter.
 
Jordan’s service with the department includes years of operational work with criminal investigations and traffic and patrol operations.
 
His civic involvement includes membership in the Leadership Franklin Class of 2013-2014.
 
An official request for his personnel file—public record by state law— has been initiated by the Herald; however, state statute provides for a processing period of up to seven days for that information.
 
Jordan, according to the city’s website, is “a 2005 graduate of the Southeastern Command & Leadership Academy at The University of Tennessee, and member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. 
 

The Operations Division, under the command of Deputy Chief Jordan, provides the police patrols you see in your neighborhoods and business districts, consists of more than 80 highly trained professionals dedicated to the ideal of public service.
In addition to patrol services, additional Operations Division Units include Special Operations (K9, SWAT, Crisis Negotiations, Underwater Recovery, Traffic and Motors Unit), Recruitment, Field Training and Evaluation, and Bike Patrol.”
Case in question
 
In early November, Jordan apparently received an inquiry from an unknown member of the Nashville media, who was seeking information about a Nov. 8 police incident report involving Williamson County resident and actress Ashley Judd.
 
Judd, who grew up in the county, maintains a residence here.
 
According to police records, she contacted the department regarding her concern that a global positioning system device had been placed underneath her car without her consent.
 
The case has since been closed by the department, but Jordan, in his capacity as head of patrol and traffic at that time, was asked by media about the matter while the case was still active.
 
On Nov. 12, Jordan was placed on paid leave until an internal investigation could be conducted.
 
The city’s personnel panel has since reviewed his actions and made a deliberation that Jordan acted outside of department policy in divulging Judd’s name to a member of the media.
 
The incident report, a matter of public record and obtained by the Herald last November, includes Judd’s name, which by law cannot be omitted from the report.
 
However, during the “investigation of an active case,” Rahinsky said it is departmental policy to refrain from commenting on pending cases.
 
According to department policy, deputy police chief’s are permitted to speak with media, but Rahinsky said “what it doesn’t permit is the release of information of an ongoing investigation…even a non-law enforcement person can understand that.
 
“You don’t jeopardize the solving of a case by releasing its information,” he said.
 
Rahinsky said that two weeks ago he and department personnel participated in a training session with the State of Tennessee’s Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury’s Division of Open Records, where Elisha Hodge, legal counsel for the division, conducted a briefing about what is appropriate and legal regarding the distribution of information.
 
“It’s a fine line and even Ms. Hodge recognizes it’s not always easily determined,” Rahinsky said.
 
Ultimately, he said, in order to allow for a complete unfettered investigation, information beyond the arrest and charge of an individual may have adverse impact on the department’s investigation.
 
Jordan has the opportunity to appeal the personnel hearing’s findings.
 
 

Posted on: 1/25/2014

 
 

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