October 23, 2012

New police chief talks about path to Chickasha

The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — Recently appointed Chickasha Police Chief, Eddie Adamson, started yesterday at his new position.

Having been without an official police "chief" since December of 2011, Adamson gave his resignation last week to the Guymon Police Department where he worked for the past five years. City Manager Stewart Fairburn announced at the last city council meeting on Oct. 15 that Adamson would be taking the post and relieving interim police chief Elip Moore.

Fairburn said, "Mr. Adamson is well versed in creating and organizing policies and procedures, a very important skill as the department seeks formal accreditation."  

Adamson said most people don't realize how many benefits come with being accredited.

"It provides many layers of protection for the agency among other benefits," said Adamson.

Though it rained the day he took office, other clouds loomed over the newly appointed chief’s head as well.

Prior to taking his position Adamson was placed on paid-administrative leave on Jan. 27 with the Guymon PD following an incident with a patch used to control pain. According to Adamson, he was using the patch when it came in contact with a heating pad while he slept, causing the medicine to release faster than it should have.

"I was placed on paid leave while they looked into the medicine issues with the hospital," said Adamson, "so Ted Graham, the Guymon City Manager could conduct an investigation into the potential misuse or abuse of medications or drugs."

According to Adamson and confirmed by City Manager Graham, he was exonerated of any wrong doing. However, Adamson was not reinstated after the investigation as the Guymon Police Chief.

Graham said, "I can't comment on any issues that are confidential. I can tell you that he was not reinstated because of an internal policy based on a performance issue. We would need a release from Adamson for anything further than that."

According to a recent Guymon newspaper article provided by Adamson, an impartial third party was hired by the city to conduct the investigation that allegedly brought back no wrong doing.

The Chief thought he was out of hot water at this point but that was just the beginning of his "nightmare".

Adamson was issued a notice of disciplinary hearing against him regarding his CLEET certification.

Adamson said, "I had no idea there was a problem with it at all. Because the mail had been delivered to the police department. It had my name on it."

The document was delivered on Feb.7 while Adamson was on paid administrative leave with no access to any mail delivered to the GPD.

The CLEET certification had nothing do with the drug abuse investigation, Adamson said, it was just a clerical error.

"I never got the CLEET letter," Adamson said. "At this point, I get blind sided. I didn't know there was an issue."

"The fact is the issues with CLEET happened when I had no access to the mail, (the city has) the letter because they put a copy in the file they gave me, and they knew I didn't know about it," Adamson said. "And then try to take discipline on it. That's a fact. That's irrefutable."

Adamson informed city officials that he had applied for the Chickasha position more than a month ago, all the while waiting to be reinstated in Guymon.

In the meantime, Adamson said other law enforcement agencies were approaching him regarding his CLEET certification, a certification that was reinstated on April 19, with no indication on record that it had ever been suspended.

So how do other law enforcement agencies allegedly know?

"That's just the thing, somebody's out there saying that, which damages my reputation," Adamson said. "It had some far-reaching implications for me, professionally.”

"I can't explain or speculate on why it happened. But I can say that for my family, I cannot tell you the anguish it has put my family through. We have persevered and tried to keep our head up."

Adamson said he doesn't want the public to think the Chief of Police violated the trust of that position, that he was doing anything wrong.

"I could have taken the job in Chickasha and walked out and never said another word about this," Adamson said. "The public needs to know, (in) my five years spent here, that I wasn't misusing drugs and getting my certification suspended and being so unprofessional about everything because I wasn't. The whole deal lasted way too long, regardless of how it was going to turn out, it lasted way to long."

According to Fairburn, Adamson was selected from a large pool of applicants, and the city hired an independent firm to do a background check on Adamson. That firm interviewed several people in Guymon, including Graham, and all gave results that led to Fairburn’s “feeling” comfortable with hiring Adamson.

The Express-Star also contacted two other random people from Adamson's past where he lived in Forest City, AR as an officer for over 16 years. Both spoke highly of the former police officer.

In a recent email to the Express-Star Adamson said, “One of the things I have believed in and I have spent a career doing, is maintaining transparency in government… even before it became a “popular term.” I have spent over two decades of my life building a reputation of integrity and trust with people I serve and not want any issue to ever tarnish that with the people who I have served.”