Dothan Police Lt. Files Grievance Against Chief

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Last September, News 4 reported that Lieutenant Duane Herring was one of the people behind a police union letter to the state attorney general asking him to investigate Chief John Powell for wrongdoing.

The attorney general ruled there was no basis for any criminal investigation.

Now, Lieutenant Herring has filed a grievance saying he's being unfairly punished for his actions.

Wednesday afternoon, the issue wasn't if Duane Herring had a right to file a grievance, but whether he should be allowed to call 40 witnesses.

Kevan Kelly, with the Dothan City Attorney's Office said, "I have spoken to a vast majority of the police officers on the list and most, with the exception of a few obvious ones that are directly involved, most of them I spoke with don't believe they have any relevant information to offer in a grievance for Mr. Herring's trial."

But Herring's attorney, former Police Chief John White, says witness testimony is crucial to get a fair hearing for his client. "With regards to relevance that's a broad area,” he says. “Based on his grievance, we should be able to delve into a number of subjects that ultimately will be determined relevant."

Herring's lawyer says he was transferred from a squad commander working a day shift to a night shift crimes analyst in the city jail.

Personnel board members presented reports Herring received at least a 90 on his evaluations. However, his latest grade topped out at 64.

So, the personnel board had to make a decision; should they listen to the 40 witnesses testify in the upcoming grievance hearing or cut the list down.

"I placed myself in that situation,” said Earl Tyson, who is on the Dothan Personnel Board. “I would want some of my co-employees to come with me to my General Manager's office and say, 'Hey, the guy’s been doing good so far, [so] how did his grades get so low?’"

After listening to both sides, the board decided to keep the full witness list.

But if the statements get repetitive, they'll be cut short.

News 4 asked if anything like this has happened before. Former Chief John White says not as far back as he can remember.

The grievance hearing is opened to the public.

It will be held March 8th at 3:30PM, at the Wiregrass Museum of Art.

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