Former La Vergne police chief fired after department sex scandal

Posted at 4:50 PM, Feb 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-06 23:42:40-05

LA VERGNE, Tenn. (WTVF) — La Vergne Police Chief Burrel "Chip" Davis has been fired after a sex scandal within his department that led to the termination of five officers.

In the initial 20-page discovery document about the department's scandal, Davis is mentioned as a figure who contributed to the investigation, but not as a participant in the illegal activity taking place at the time.

However, one officer involved — Maegan Hall — filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint with the state alleging that Davis fostered an environment that encouraged the illicit behavior that took place.

Davis was first put on paid administrative leave on Monday morning after the city's notice of an EEOC complaint.

City officials then hired an outside, third-party investigator to look into exactly what Davis knew and when. The investigator determined Davis was indeed aware of the sexual misconduct within his department but never reported or disciplined any of the involved officers.

This report also concluded that Davis illegally impeded the initial sexual misconduct investigation.

“There aren’t words to describe the disappointment and frustration felt by myself and other city leaders. Officers are held to a higher standard, even more so is their chief,” said Mayor Jason Cole. “We take the health, safety, and well-being of every employee at La Vergne extremely seriously, and a culture similar to the one uncovered in these investigations is not acceptable. We will continue to do what needs to be done in order to do what’s right for our officers, our city employees, and our community.”

Deputy Chief Brent Hatcher was named interim chief of police in Davis's absence. The city will conduct a nationwide search for a new police chief, La Vergne police said.

On January 6, five officers with the La Vergne Police Department were fired and another three officers were suspended after various bouts of sexual misconduct and reportedly lying during the ensuing investigation into the scandal.

The terminated officers were patrol officer Maegan Hall, patrol officer Juan Lugo-Perez, Sgt. Henry Ty McGowan, Sgt. Lewis Powell and detective Seneca Shields. The suspended officers were Patrol and K-9 Officer Larry Holladay, Patrol Officer Patrick Magliocco and Patrol Officer Gavin Schoeberl.

According to the allegations made in the internal investigation, officers engaged in sexual relationships without reporting to leadership and while on duty, while inside city-owned property. Inappropriate pictures were also sent between many of the named officers.

When some of the officers were caught lying in the investigation into the incidents, they also lost their POST certifications, meaning they will no longer be able to work as officers in the state of Tennessee.

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