For the past several weeks, we have been telling you about a controversial police union letter accusing Chief John Powell of ticket fixing.
Now Sgt. Stephen Hamm, who resigned this week as the union's president, is speaking out, and he says the letter should have never gotten as far as it did.
As we have said for the past several weeks, this letter was sent to attorney general, Troy King's office, but without the consent of the majority of union members.
And that is why Sgt. Hamm says the letter should never have been sent in the first place. And it is a story you will only see here on News 4.
"It was voted on by the 12 members, and the vote was carried,” says Sgt. Hamm.
That was back in early August, when Sgt. Steve Hamm says the IBPO'S Union Vice President, Lt. Duane Herring motioned for a vote during a meeting, on a proposal to write a letter asking Attorney General Troy King, to investigate ticket fixing by Dothan Police Chief, John Powell.
There are 56 members in the IBPO Union, but only 12 were present that night. The majority of the 12 voted to have the letter written, but no one ever saw the final product.
"The vice president very well may have known that it wouldn't have gone had the entire membership seen it,” says Sgt. Hamm.
And that is not the way issues are handled within the IBPO, according to Sgt. Hamm.
"We always make sure we have the blessing of certainly the entire group would be best, but at least a majority. On this particular occasion, before the letter was sent, no one saw it before it was sent,” adds Sgt. Stephen Hamm.
Hamm goes on to say that Lt. Herring then drafted the letter with the help of union attorney Banks Smith, and sent it to General King's office. Something he says should have never happened.
"I feel that if the entire membership had seen the letter and knew the ramifications, or the negative outcome of this letter, it never would have been sent in the first place,” Hamm says.
Hamm says he does not agree with the accusations in the letter, and never voted to send it, but does say that he thinks several members within the IBPO, including Lt. Herring have a vendetta against Dothan's chief of police.
"It is my opinion that they have a grudge, and that may have very well played a part in it,” says Sgt. Stephen Hamm.
A grudge Hamm says is clouding their judgment.
"I believe that is may go as far as making them lose their common sense and a sense of propriety,” Sgt. Stephen Hamm.
When News 4 approached Union Vice-President Herring to ask him about his role in this chain of events, this is what he had to say.
News 4: Lt. Herring we have confirmed that you were in fact the architect behind this controversial letter, what do you have to say about that?
Lt. Duane Herring: "I have no comment and I have nothing to say.”
We did ask both sides for comment, and only one group decided to speak out.
But Sgt. Hamm says he did what he could to help resolve the situation, and that now he fears there may not be enough union members left, to keep the union up and running.
In the meantime, attorney general troy king says he will now gather all evidence and determine whether an investigation of Chief Powell is, in fact, warranted.
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