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Murray County

January 6, 2014

Long-time police chief switches jobs

CHATSWORTH — The city’s police chief of 11 years is now its city marshal with code enforcement duties.

Chatsworth City Council members unanimously approved the change Monday at their monthly meeting. Citing concerns over disclosing too much personnel information, council member Fred Welch wouldn’t go into details about why long-time chief Terry Martin wasn’t re-appointed to his old job except to say Martin’s work doing private investigations services on the side may have been a factor and been “counterproductive to his job here.”

“There was nothing criminal about the actions that he did but we just like to keep things above board and up front,” Welch said.

District Attorney Bert Poston’s office conducted an investigation into Martin’s activities and found no criminal wrongdoing. Poston was out of the office on Monday, and documentation on the investigation’s outcome wasn’t immediately available. Martin wasn’t at the city council meeting and didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Mayor Dan Penland described the job change as “a lateral move” in which Martin will continue to earn the same salary, although he said he didn’t know off the top of his head what that salary is.

Martin served for 11 years as assistant chief and most recently for another 11 years as chief. The police chief job, along with other department head positions, are examined annually. The city marshal job was open after a retirement and Martin was a good fit for it, Welch said.

Welch described Martin as “a loyal employee of the city of Chatsworth,” and he said council members “appreciate his years of service.”

Lt. Scott Bickford, who has been second in command at the police department, will serve as chief until the city hires someone for the position permanently.

 “We’d like to have somebody inside our department if we have somebody that’s qualified who applies for that position but that’s not to say we wouldn’t consider somebody from outside,” Welch said.

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