Photos show unsecured pistol in front seat of booted Millersville police vehicle in Nashville
Confirmation of resignation of police chief, assistant chief come after WSMV4 Investigates began asking questions about the photos.
MILLERSVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The mayor of Millersville police said photos of an unsecured pistol left in the front seat of Millersville police vehicle that was booted in a Nashville parking garage are further proof that an independent investigation is needed of his police department.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” said Millersville Mayor Tommy Long. “It’s very frustrating. (The Millersville police department) needs to be cleaned up.”
The photos, obtained by WSMV4 Investigates, show a white Durango with the government service license plate of 9838-GH in a Nashville parking garage on June 6, booted with a fine attached, reading that the driver had failed to pay.
The vehicle had a “police” identification in the front windshield and blue lights and shows an unsecured pistol in the front seat.
Long, who also had seen the photos, said the car belongs to assistant police chief Glenn Alred.
“He takes the vehicle and uses it as a personal vehicle,” Long said.
On Wednesday, July 27, WSMV4 Investigates went to Millersville police and found the same vehicle, with the same license plate, parked in the spot reserved for Police Chief Melvin Brown.
In responding to an open records request about who was assigned to the car, a representative for the city of Millersville responded that it was a pool vehicle used by several individuals in the department.
When WSMV4 Investigates went into the police department to ask to speak to Brown and Alred, we were told by a lieutenant the chief was not at the office and Alred was not available.
That lieutenant said that sometimes different people park their cars in different marked spaces, but when we showed a photo of the license plate of the booted car, he said that it belonged to Alred.
WSMV4 Investigates then called Brown on his cell phone and left a message, looking for an explanation as to why a city police vehicle was driven to Nashville to a parking lot, and then booted with an unsecured weapon in the front seat.
When Brown did not return the call, WSMV4 Investigates returned to once again ask for him when we saw his personal vehicle parked in the assigned spot.
A front desk attendant told us that he was in a meeting with City Manager Scott Avery, who stepped out into the lobby a few minutes later.
When we asked to speak with the police chief, Avery said no one from the city would be talking to us.
“I have several questions. Why this police vehicle had a boot on it in downtown Nashville? Do you know why that happened?” asked WSMV4 Investigates.
“I already told you, we’re not going to give you an interview. You can keep asking the questions, we have nothing to hide, put it in writing,” Avery said.
When WSMV4 Investigates then wrote an email asking to see if the city had conducted an investigation into the booted vehicle and the unsecured weapon, Avery wrote back, “I am waiting on Chief Brown to be available to double check this information, but will get back to you.”
Later that evening on July 27, WSMV4 Investigates confirmed that both Brown and Alred have resigned.
When WSMV4 Investigates asked in an email if their resignation had anything to do with questions about the booted vehicle with the unsecured weapon, Avery wrote back, “No, it included the reasons covered in the letter and email I sent you.”
Avery provided an email sent by Brown on July 24, with a subject header, “CONFIDENTIAL LETTERS OF NOTICE OF RESIGNATION.”
The email reads that he intends to complete a post-graduate degree program and would resign on Aug. 4.
Brown also wrote in the email, “Additionally, my family, students, teammates, and I have grown weary of periodic information by the P.O.S.T. Commission and other anonymous allegations regarding staff members being published by local media in out of context sound bites that would lead one to believe something is amiss despite supporting statements from a P.O.S.T. Investigator and local District Attorney General.”
In Alred’s resignation letter, he wrote in part, “The reason for my resignation is the ongoing and relentless harassment through false allegations directed at myself, the Chief of Police, the city manager, and our officers.”
It is unclear why the resignations of Brown and Alred was leaked to reporters on the evening after WSMV4 Investigates began to ask about the photos.
Neither Brown or Alred have responded to calls for requests for comment from WSMV4 Investigates in the last several months.
Resignations follow scrutiny by POST Commission
The resignations come just days after the POST (Peace Officers Standards and Training) commission, which regulates police officers in Tennessee, met on July 21 and heard a report from a state investigator assigned to investigate Millersville police.
When POST first learned that Alred and Brown were working as police officers despite not being certified by the state, they directed that both work part time as they re-earned their certification.
The POST investigator said there was no proof that Alred had completed any steps to be recertified since then, and that Brown indicated he would be starting a school to become recertified in August.
Brown requested for an extension to start his training school until August and it was granted it by POST.
The POST investigator reported that he had been told that both Brown and Alred were working full time and heard from a city employee that they had no part time employees.
However, the investigator said that Avery told him that Alred was, in fact, working part time.
The investigator’s update before the POST commission was triggered by District Attorney General Ray Whitley’s refusal to prosecute Brown and Alred for working as police officers despite not being certified.
In a letter dated April 12, 2023, Whitley wrote in part, “I have determined that prosecution in this matter is not called for and I am therefore declining prosecution. This does not appear to be a blatant disregard of the law by anybody, and corrective measures are being taken to comply with POST Commission requirements according to the law.”
Upon learning that the district attorney did not intend to prosecute, and that the investigator was told that Brown continued to work full time and there were questions about how often Alred was working, POST commissioner Chad Partin, who is also the Coffee County Sheriff, had a message for Whitley.
“If the district attorney is watching, these are illegal actions,” Partin said during the POST commission meeting. “And when the district attorney general doesn’t take action, unfortunately, like in other states, the governor has to take action, or the state attorney general.”
WSMV4 Investigates reached Whitley by phone last week before the POST commission.
Whitley confirmed his office found no reason to prosecute.
WSMV4 Investigates asked if both Brown and Alred were working full time, and Avery responded, “Glenn Alred has been part time since before the March POST Meeting, Chief Brown has been full time all along POST did not say he had to be part time, that he could not do law enforcement work without a certified officer riding along. He has been on light duty for a shoulder injury and has not conducted law enforcement duties.”
Avery also sent WSMV4 Investigates an email, sent by himself to the POST investigator on Feb 28, 2023, pointing out an apparent conflict in the POST’s rules for people like Brown, who has not worked as a police officer since 2018 before joining Millersville police.
Avery wrote in the email that POST’s own rules state someone, who had been uncertified as long as Brown, should attend recertification school within six month of returning to full-time employment.
“How can we meet the within six months of returning to full time if (Brown) cannot return to full time?” Avery wrote to the investigator.
Avery said he has not received a reply from the POST investigator since then.
In the original POST meeting in which the commissioners learned that neither Alred nor Brown were state certified, Partin states the directive that both cannot work full time until they are recertified.
Brown, Alred featured in WSMV4 Investigaties ‘The Thin Blurred Line’ reports
Brown and Alred were both featured in our series of reporting, “The Thin Blurred Line,” which exposed how people without state certification were wearing police identification and, in some cases, accused of acting like police officers.
Our investigation found both Brown and Alred have worked for the security company Solaren, which our investigation found either employed or employs the people who were not certified as law enforcement but wore police identification.
With the photos, the scrutiny by the POST commission our “Thin Blurred Line” investigation, Mayor Long said an outside independent investigation is warranted, even if the district attorney declines to prosecute.
“We probably need to go higher. Because it’s like me knocking my head against the wall. I’m not getting any results,” Brown said.
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