Cave City sees contentious City Council meeting after firing of police chief

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Elected officials in Cave City met for the first time after the controversial firing of the city's police chief for the past three years, Terrill Riley.

"It seems like they just kind of want to sweep it under the rug and let it go, and I think the citizens have spoken, and they're not happy with the outcome," said former police chief, Terrill Riley.

Monday night's City Council meeting was filled with people and dissatisfaction.

It was the first gathering for Cave City's City Council members, alongside Mayor Dwayne Hatcher, after the abrupt firing of Riley.

Before adjourning, the council accepted public comment from the room, and one by one people approached the podium, including the former police chief.

In January, the mayor had sent a memo of 10 supervisory instructions for Riley to uphold.

He told the room Riley hadn't followed the particular instructions of making every attempt of having two officers on duty at all times, and mandating that officers wear bullet-proof vests at all times, per their standard of protocol.

"I never was given a warning that I was breaking any of those rules on that memo. Just simply slid a termination letter and told me I was fired," said Riley.

"Terrill Riley's a good man. This is not a personal --" said Mayor Hatcher, before members of the audience interrupted.

Council members raised their concerns as well to the decision, one they don't have control over.

"I don't know how to really talk about this because I don't have any more information than anybody else does. The mayor is the sole chief executive officer of our town. He makes those executive decisions, not us as a council," said city council member, John Grissom.

Not all who spoke were in support of Riley, but the overwhelming majority were.

"The only thing I really have to say is Cave City has lost a good chief of police. Cave City is supposed to be all about protect and serve, and Terrill Riley did his job and did it well," said Debbie Wright, his mother-in-law.

We are working to get further comment from Mayor Hatcher.


13 News' Madison Martin in covering the Cave City City Council meeting at which ex-Cave City Police Chief Terrill Riley is speaking. Riley was recently fired by Mayor Dwayne Hatcher for allegedly not fulfilling his obligations.

Madison reports:
People are approaching the podium after a council member asked why there were so many in attendance.

Terrill Riley has approached the podium and is now reading of the memorandum given to him in January by Mayor Hatcher. Riley says he believed he fulfilled those obligations. Some on the council are now voicing approval of Riley in spite of the Mayor’s decision.

Community members are saying since Chief Riley’s termination, Caverna Elementary has lost their school resource officer. Mayor says they’re not pulling the SRO, but there’s been some shifting around. One councilman said they ought to figure out a full time SRO for the school tomorrow.

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