Tuesday, 02 July 2013 03:43
Lieutenant Jimmy Phelps testified under oath that his superior, Glasgow Police Chief Guy Turcotte, engaged in a relationship he agreed was inappropriate. Phelps’ testimony was part of an open disciplinary hearing held last night in the Glasgow City Council chambers to address charges against Sergeant Jessie Barton. The charges alleged Barton violated the Police Department’s Policy and Procedures Code of Ethics on counts of; 1) Personal Conduct, 2) Ethical Conduct, and, 3) Conduct Unbecoming of an Officer. Barton was found guilty on all three counts by the Glasgow City Council and was sentenced to suspension without pay for the next 7 days where he will be allowed to resume his position as Sergeant with the Glasgow Police Department after July 8th. Barton had already been suspended without pay for approximately 6 weeks.As Councilman Freddie Norris read the verdict, those in attendance responded with a round of applause that indicated the judgment was satisfactory.
While the judgment was, indeed, a simple verdict, the nearly four-and-a-half hour proceedings that unfolded were complex. As Lieutenant Phelps took the stand, he was forced to answer questions relating to other internal affairs investigations involving a police officer who was caught charging gas to the City of Glasgow for personal use and another instance where a fellow officer was found drunk in public without formal charges being brought against them.
And, then there was the issue of Police Chief Guy Turcotte and his relationship with Sgt. Barton’s wife, Sara, which much of the hearing revolved around. As the text message history revealed, Turcotte contacted Sara Barton numerous times; inviting her to his house and offering advice on her personal life. Sgt. Barton knew of the relationship between his wife and Turcotte and addressed the issue with the Chief through a letter.
The letter states, “I wanted to write you this letter to let you know something is really bothering me. Thanksgiving Day I thought it was a very nice thing you did on transporting Sara to Bowling Green. Since that time I understand that you all text each other and she notified me that you stopped by her house after the Black Stone Cherry Concert. It also bothered me the night of the Christmas parade that you took her out to eat and never invited me.”
Barton’s letter to Turcotte goes on to read, “I have officers coming up to me asking why is your wife and the Chief hanging out. I don’t talk about it, however it is really bothering me.”
In his testimony, Sgt. Barton says Turcotte approached him about the letter.
Also, during the hearing, a text message history between Barton’s wife and Turcotte was submitted as evidence. Due to the fact that Mayor Rhonda Trautman had denied several subpoenas from Barton’s attorney, Alan Simpson, Barton had never actually scene these text messages. When asked about it, he said, “it makes me sick.”
Some of those records revealed messages sent from Turcotte to Barton’s wife saying things like, “Did you just pulled over?”, “Did you make it home safely yet?”, “Take a hot shower and get some I will talk with you tomorrow”, “What r your plans today”, and, “Hey Little Lady, I just opened your wonderful Christmas gift, Thank you so much the gift is awesome, you shouldn’t have…xo”.
Lieutenant Jimmy Phelps also answered questions about the relationship between the Chief of Police and Sgt. Barton’s wife, saying he felt Turcotte’s behavior was “inappropriate”.
This case all stemmed from Barton admittedly withholding information from the FBI about his account of the alleged assault of Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton against Billy Stinett. Barton admitted that although he gave the federal investigators enough information to assume Eaton did strike Stinett in the groin, he should have told them that he did actually witness the assault occur, instead of just hearing the groan and turning around to find Stinett hunched over. Barton told the City Council that if it weren’t for his integrity as an officer and his willingness to come forward and tell the truth to the FBI, he wouldn’t have even been reprimanded in the first place. Barton said his conscience wouldn’t allow him to go on without voluntarily coming forward with his true account of the events that occurred involving the Sheriff and Stinett.
In his closing statements, Alan Simpson, attorney for Barton, told the council that the police department had bigger problems than his client to deal with.
Again, Barton was found guilty on all three violations of the Code of Ethics, but was not dismissed, only suspended without pay until July 8th where he will return to the Glasgow Police Department as a Sergeant.
After the proceedings of the Disciplinary Hearing regarding Jessie Barton last night, WCLU’s Wes Royse caught up with some of those involved in the case. First, he interviewed Mayor Rhonda Trautman.
Later, WCLU asked Barton’s Attorney, Alan Simpson, a few questions about the case. Barton elected to let his lawyer speak on his behalf.
Finally, Royse approached City Attorney, Ben Rogers.