Joiner Police Chief Fired after Returning Home from War - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Joiner, AR--Tiffany Blankenship Reports

Joiner Police Chief Fired after Returning Home from War

February 9, 2006--Posted at 2:00 pm

JONESBORO-- Rumors of unfair treatment of the town's former police chief have residents upset... Not only because he was employed by the department for some time, but his problems at work didn't start until he returned home from fighting the war in Iraq...

Anthony Smith served with the 39th Infantry Brigade in Iraq... When he came home, he brought this purple heart with him. A great honor and a reminder of the day he lost so much...

While on duty in Iraq, Smith was hit by an RPG round that went through his hip, hit the ground and exploded...

"It went through my body... It took away my kidneys, intestines... I can't lift my leg up. I have a rod and screws in my leg and I lost my arm of course," Anthony Smith says.

But Smith wouldn't let his injuries affect his love of the police force... He returned to his work as Joiner's police chief... But nearly two months after he returned for Iraq, he was fired by the mayor...

"There were rumors surfacing that he was going to get rid of me because of my injuries," Smith says.

But according to Mayor Kevin Love, those allegations are false...

"It wasn't that he wasn't doing a great job for our city or that he couldn't have when he came back. The guy just wouldn't show up for work. We just couldn't have that," Joiner Mayor Kevin Love says.

But according to a letter from the Department of Labor, this wasn't the reason for his termination.

"They went in and investigated and found out the situation didn't even hold water," Smith says.

After the department investigated the situation, they found the mayor had originally stated insubordination as the reason for smith's termination. After interviewing several witnesses, they found Smith to have a clean work record at the police department and a good reputation with his co-workers.

They stated in a letter, that Anthony Smith should not have been terminated from his job.

But the mayor says these findings are based on the wrong sources... He said the witnesses were some of his own city council members...

"Although it's a small city, I have some for me and some against," Love says.

The same council members Smith says wish to reinstate him as Joiner's police chief...

"I do have a good council but they don't want to actually work with me, and I hope that's what they will do in the near future," Love says.

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