Police chief shake-up in Lepanto

LEPANTO, AR (KAIT) - Lepanto Mayor Steve Jernigan said the city council met in executive session Tuesday night to discuss changes at the police department.

After the meeting, council members voted to reinstate Chad Henderson as police chief.

Friday, May 9, was supposed to be Henderson's last day as police chief.

Mayor Jernigan said he "transferred" Henderson from police chief last week to a K-9 officer position to handle the city's drug problem.

"He takes care of the drug dog. He works with the drug dog. He understands the drug culture. He is an excellent officer and I thought that if I moved Chad over as a full-time K-9 officer, then relieve him of some of the police chief duties, then it might slow the drug problem down."

The mayor said the council did not agree with the change, and decided to hold a special meeting to vote on reinstating Henderson.

Daniel Haynes served as interim chief over the weekend and up until the special meeting Tuesday night.

The mayor says while Haynes was the interim chief, another officer, officer David Layman was fired.

Mayor Jernigan would not discuss why Layman was fired.

The reasons why the council voted to reinstate Henderson was discussed in an executive session, which is closed to the public. 

The mayor said the meeting started at 7 p.m. and ended around 10 p.m.

Lepanto resident Mike McCullar says the citizens of Lepanto want answers. 

"The chief has family on the city council. I would think that would be a conflict of interest," he said. "We were all sitting outside no one knows why."

Mayor Jernigan said David Layman's firing will be discussed at the next city council meeting May 20.

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