UCPD releases officers’ names from internal investigation

UCPD releases officers’ names from internal investigation
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
Three Union City police officers remain released from duty while an internal investigation is under way.
Union City Police Chief Joe Garner said the three officers — patrolmen Ashley Thompson, Randy O’Dell and David Jones — have been released from duty with pay, in accordance to departmental policy, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
Garner disclosed the patrol officers’ names this morning and said an internal investigation is still being conducted by the Union City Police Department.
“Further information will be released upon conclusion of the investigation,” he said.
The internal investigation was launched in connection with the Dec. 21 arrest of former Union City police officer Mike Hogg, 42, on charges of filing a false report, insurance fraud and theft. He was taken into custody by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at the local district attorney’s office.
The charges against Hogg stem from an investigation of a stolen four-wheeler reported to the Obion County Sheriff’s Department in August 2010.
According to TBI agent Mark Reynolds’ arrest affidavit, Hogg reported to the sheriff’s department Aug. 7, 2010, that a four-wheeler was stolen from his residence at 1309 Lookout Drive in Whispering Hills subdivision, west of Union City. He then allegedly contacted Farm Bureau Insurance and filed a claim of theft, with the insurance company paying a claim for a stolen four-wheeler.
Reynolds said in his affidavit it was established that the four-wheeler was given to someone by Hogg prior to the stolen report and the insurance claim being filed. The agent alleged Hogg saw the four-wheeler after the report and claim were filed and was aware of the location.
According to the affidavit, Hogg allegedly obtained a warranty claim totaling about $3,000 from Abernathy’s and used the money “to gain a benefit” from the gun shop, L&A Firearms.
Reynolds also stated in the affidavit that agents interviewed Hogg and he allegedly gave a false statement to TBI agents by denying any involvement with the theft, “hindering the investigation” and resulting in the charge of filing a false report.
Hogg’s preliminary hearing is currently set for Jan. 19 at 10 a.m. in Obion County General Sessions Court.
The day of his arrest, Hogg was suspended with pay for seven days and was to be terminated at the end. His termination from the police department was effective Dec. 28, Garner told The Messenger last week.
Hogg had been employed with the police department since June 2007.
Meanwhile, the other three Union City officers, who all work the same shift, were released from active duty pending the completion of the Union City Police Department’s internal investigation; and Obion County Sheriff’s Department deputy Dave Davis resigned Dec. 27. Obion County Sheriff Jerry Vastbinder confirmed Davis, a veteran law enforcement officer, was on suspension when he submitted his resignation.
Garner explained to The Messenger last week that being released from active duty is not a disciplinary action and is not the same as suspension, but rather is action to protect the city, its citizens and the police department while the investigation is under way.
He said the police department has had to make adjustments in manpower due to the action, including putting an investigator on the street to work a patrol shift.
Published in The Messenger 1.4.12

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