published Monday, June 18th, 2012

New LaFayette police and fire chiefs appointed

LaFayette City Manager Frank Etheridge has chosen a new police and fire chief to replace fired public safety director Tommy Freeman.

Interim Police Chief Bengie Clift was appointed police chief and Capt. Robert Busby Jr. was appointed fire chief.

The city council unanimously approved the decision to split the two departments and agreed with the city manager to begin looking for internal candidates in its June 11 meeting.

A week later the decision was made. Both candidates have 14-plus years of experience with the public safety department and would create a smooth transition for the department, Etheridge said.

Freeman was fired in May after a flurry of allegations of mistreating employees, public tirades and skirting his responsibilities. After Etheridge gave Freeman an ultimatum, the chief was fired when he tried to punish employees for speaking out.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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