City Council members respond to retirement of Kevin Murphy

Published: Jun. 26, 2014 at 12:43 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2014 at 12:44 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It was Monday when Mayor Todd Strange announced that Police Chief Kevin Murphy would retire, but the investigation has reportedly been going on for months.

On Wednesday, Montgomery City Council members spoke out about the controversial retirement of Kevin Murphy.

Councilman David Burkette said he was as surprised as everyone else on Monday.

"I was sort of caught off guard," Burkette said. "Everything seemed to be favorable; everything appeared to be running smoothly."

Councilman Arch Lee agrees that he was also left in the dark.

"I think we have a right to know some more," Lee said. "If there's some allegations made, I would love to see it because if something's done illegal or unethical, I would love to know about it."

"We should have been among the first to know what was going on," Burkette said.

The story, however, is a little different from Charles Jinright.

He told WSFA over the phone that the entire council heard from the Mayor about the situation with Kevin Murphy and how he planned to handle it. Jinright says there was no opposition from the city council.

"That's true and it's false," Burkette said. "We were told, but it was after the fact, after everything had gone down."

"He did not make it clear to me," Lee said. "I did not know what was happening fully until I got back into town. I didn't miss any phone calls or anything else, and I wasn't asked about it or told about it. I had one very brief discussion that there might be some issues, but certainly not him not coming back as police chief."

WSFA 12 News attempted to get in touch with all of the council members today. We were able to speak with Glen Pruitt over the phone where he agreed with Burkette and Lee.

Pruitt said the council wasn't made aware of the situation until after the decision had been made that Kevin Murphy would not return to duty.

Tracy Larkin and Richard Bollinger both said they are hesitant to comment publicly before getting more definitive information about the reasons for the outgoing chief's departure.

Jon Dow and C.C. Calhoun did not return calls left by WSFA 12 News.

The mayor says he made his decision based on what he described as a hostile work environment at MPD under Chief Murphy's leadership as well as questionable police department spending.

Murphy's official retirement date is September 30th. He will remain on administrative leave until then.

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