Letter shows former chief announced his retirement amid sexting - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

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Letter shows former chief announced his retirement amid sexting scandal

Harrisburg Mayor Randy Mills says he asked Gary Hefner to resign from the Harrisburg Police Department Monday morning. (Source: KAIT) Harrisburg Mayor Randy Mills says he asked Gary Hefner to resign from the Harrisburg Police Department Monday morning. (Source: KAIT)
HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) -

A letter released to Region 8 News on Tuesday, June 19 shows the former Harrisburg police chief announced his intent to retire.

Harrisburg Mayor Randy Mills says he asked Gary Hefner to resign from the Harrisburg Police Department.

At the time, Region 8 News spoke exclusively with Hefner, who told us he did not resign and was contemplating retirement. 

The letter, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, was dated June 11, 2018. 

"This letter is to inform you of my intentions to retire from the Harrisburg Police Department where I have been employed for the past 28 years," Hefner said in the letter to Mayor Mills. 

According to the letter, Hefner's last day as a city employee was June 11. 

"I have enjoyed many years of service for the City of Harrisburg and have worked with some very amazing people through my career," Hefner said. "I wish only the best for the remaining employees. 

A handwritten notation on the letter showed it was delivered to Mayor Mills on Wednesday, June 13. 

All the drama started back on May 22nd in a police committee meeting, where Mills said Hefner disrespected him. 

On June 1, Mills demoted Hefner down to patrolman and asked for his city-issued phone to be returned. 

Mills said when Hefner returned the phone, it had been wiped clean back to factory settings. 

Region 8 News was tipped to some allegations that Hefner had sent sexually explicit photos to a woman on that city-issued phone. 

Region 8 News sent a Freedom of Information Act request for all text messages from Hefner's phone. 

Since Hefner reset the phone to factory setting, there were no text messages to be retrieved. 

Mayor Randy Mills says he couldn't properly investigate the allegations against Hefner, since the former chief deleted the content from his city-issued phone saying, "I don't know if they are true or they are not true, but I can not prove them to be not true because the only way is his phone." 

Hefner spoke exclusively with Region 8's Jordan Howington on June 11, saying he had not resigned and was contemplating retirement. 

Hefner also addressed the rumors. He said someone gave the mayor a flash-drive with a conversation between Hefner and the woman about a truck for sale on it.  The device also contained sexually explicit photos. 

"It is obvious that it had been manufactured. There were videos on the thing, where it was not even...you couldn't watch the videos. It was supposedly screenshots of a telephone," Hefner said. 

Hefner denied the allegations that he sent the woman sexually explicit photos. 

Hefner said, "The person who was supposedly sending the pictures and I was sending pictures to went to the mayor's office and told him that I never sent anything like that to her and she never sent anything like that to me."

Mills said the ultimatum, resign or be terminated, came down to Hefner breaking city policy, "He destroyed public record and anything on that phone is the city's."

Hefner admitted to sending and receiving sexually explicit photos between him and his wife on the city-issued phone, claiming that's why he deleted the phone's content. "I reset the phone not because I was trying to hide anything else that I had done. I just didn't want anyone to see photos of my wife nude, or myself," Hefner said. 

Hefner planned to defend himself to the Harrisburg City Council at its regularly scheduled meeting on June 12. However, as Region 8 News reported, Hefner was not allowed to speak and there were no public comments allowed at the meeting. 

Below is a copy of Hefner's letter to the mayor announcing his intent to retire. Region 8 News has redacted Hefner's address listed in the letter. 

Region 8 News will have more information as details emerge. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for up to the minute updates.

Copyright 2018 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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