June 10, 2013 -
The following is a statement Mayor Madeline Rogero gave today at a press conference with KPD Chief David Rausch after three former officers pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and felony oppression in court. The pleas were in connection with an incident involving the arrest of a homeless man on Grainger Avenue in February.
Mayor Rogero's Statement:
I'd like to thank Chief Rausch, his command staff and all of our officers for their immeasurable dedication to protecting and serving our community.
Our officers have a very difficult job, and I cannot stress how much I appreciate each and every one of them and the sacrifices they and their families make.
Extensive and repeated training prepares our officers to meet and deal with the difficult and dangerous circumstances they face every day. I personally witnessed this during a recent tour of the KPD Training Facility.
Even in the heat of emergency situations, we expect our officers to rely upon their preparation and training and conduct themselves in the right way. If officers abandon their training, as they did in this instance, bad things happen - both for the officers and for the people they serve.
That is what happened on this occasion and the officers' conduct was simply inexcusable.
When this incident came to our attention, the investigative process began immediately. When contacted about the situation by Chief Rausch, I immediately authorized him to take whatever action he deemed appropriate to correct and discipline the officers involved - including severe disciplinary or legal action, if necessary.
We cannot and will not condone any violation of the rule of law by our officers.
The investigative process is now complete.
I want to thank Chief Rausch, our command staff, Attorney General Randy Nichols, his staff and others in local law enforcement who have worked together to reach an appropriate resolution to this inexcusable incident.
I want to stress, however, that this incident is neither reflective of nor consistent with the character and conduct of the police officers whom I have come to know and respect in my time as Mayor.
Our Knoxville Police Department is among the finest police forces anywhere. Moving forward, I am confident our community will be safe and our citizens will be proud of our Knoxville police officers.