Creel suspension ruled 'invalid'
RED BAY- Red Bay Police Chief Pat Creel reported to work yesterday for the first time since receiving a letter of suspension at the March 3 council meeting.
In a letter dated March 11 and addressed to the mayor and council, City Attorney Brian Hamilton wrote the suspension letter was invalid and advised that city business resume as usual.
Hamilton penned in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Franklin County Times, that Creel's suspension was invalid because it did not list reasons for Creel's suspension and the matter was not voted on during the council meeting.
Also, according to the Code of Alabama, all law enforcement officials must be given due process before being suspended or terminated.
"At the minimum, this due process shall consist of written notice to the officer of the reasons for the termination or suspension," Hamilton wrote.
Hamilton further noted in order for the suspension or termination to be valid, the council must vote on the matter in open session and suggested that the city's top cop return to his post.
"Because the notice is invalid, Chief Creel remains acting Police Chief and should resume his responsibilities accordingly," the letter states.
In response to the letter, Creel returned to work Thursday morning, nine days after the suspension began. Creel said he was pleased to be back in uniform but declined to elaborate.
"All I can say is it's good to be back," he said.
"And it is good to be back."
Mayor Jeff Reid said he hopes that since Creel has returned to his post, the city can move forward.
"The letter was invalid for several reasons as stated by our attorney," Reid said.
"We'll move from here one way or another."