Former police chief lashes out at City of Millington after resigning

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MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- The now former Millington police chief defended himself and two officers fired by the city amid a scandal involving missing money at the department.

Former chief Frank Tennant resigned over a controversy about $12,000 in cash that disappeared from the evidence room.

A source told WREG that Officer Tully Reed was fired Tuesday morning and Officer Charles Coleman will be fired soon.

Coleman's termination is reportedly delayed due to a family emergency he is experiencing.

Tennant denied any wrongdoing by himself or the other two officers. He said in a statement the City of Millington is vilifying them instead of waiting for those responsible to be caught.

Millington resident Danielle Kirkwood is angry about the whole situation.

"Where is the money? It was there, now it's not there," she said. "Now, nobody's talking."

Kirkwood is just one of many Millington residents who want answers after Tennant resigned and the two other officers were told they would be fired.

WREG stopped by Tennant's and Reed's houses Tuesday afternoon. People were inside both homes, but no one would answer.

Marlene Wardell lives right next door to Reed and said she is shocked he may be involved in missing money at the police department.

"He's a very nice man, a very nice neighbor," she said.

Close to $20,000 in cash was taken from a trailer at the Shady Oaks mobile-home park after the trailer's owner, Jimmy Smith, died of natural causes. Smith was reportedly a hoarder.

Around $12,000 was later allegedly taken by someone from the police evidence room.

The TBI is investigating.

Officials at City Hall refused to comment.

Millington residents, like Kirkwood, said they want to trust their police department again, but more importantly, they want the city to start answering questions.

"You're resigning. You're fired. You're fired. Ok, so it's already out in the open. Tell the whole story!"

Millington Alderman Thomas McGhee would not go on camera but told WREG the Board of Aldermen decided to write Smith's family a check to cover the missing money.

The board will hold a special meeting Thursday at 6 p.m., requesting to replace Tennant.

Statement from Frank Tennant's attorney:

Today Millington Police Chief Frank Tennant resigned from his position. Chief Tennant was hired in August of 2014 to rescue and rebuild the Millington Police Department that was suffering from low morale, incredibly high turnover and institutional neglect.

After twelve months on the job under Chief Tennant, the department was finally fully staffed and improving. On August 20, 2015 Chief Tennant was notified that money was missing from the secured Property Room at the Millington Police Department. Chief Tennant immediately notified Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich and he requested a TBI investigation. As the investigation has been moving forward, Chief Tennant and the department have fully cooperated. The Chief has full faith in the state investigators to bring this case to a conclusion.

Today Chief Tennant stated in his resignation letter that city officials have undermined and circumvented his authority to the detriment of the City of Millington and the detriment of the criminal investigation to locate the missing money. Neither Chief Tennant, nor the other two career Millington officers that were fired today have been accused of any wrongdoing. The simple fact is that there was a theft from behind a 500 pound steel door in the secured Property Room and the City of Millington chose to vilify career law enforcement officers with exemplary records instead of waiting for the guilty party or parties to be identified.

Chief Tennant takes full responsibility for his actions and the actions of the officers under his command during his thirty-four year career in law enforcement.

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