Judge Reinstates Former Lebanon Police Chief

Posted at 8:55 PM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-20 21:57:06-05

A judge ordered former Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen be reinstated immediately. The order comes three years after former Mayor Philip Whitehead fired Bowen.

"It's been a long, tedious, three years. A lot of tears shed. A lot of worries when someone comes in and takes your job for no legitimate reason. It hurts a lot," Bowen said. "Especially when you've done as much as I have for this community."

Bowen served the Lebanon Police Department for about 25 years, and was promoted to chief in 2003.

Bowen said Whitehead fired him via email, while he was on medical leave for inappropriately handling a concern Bowen had with Public Safety officers accessing a TBI database that only the Police Department was able to access.

But Bowen believes his termination was politically motivated.

"It was a grudge, that's all this is," he said.

On Monday, a judge agreed Bowen was wrongfully fired. He ordered Bowen be reinstated and that the city give him nearly three years of back pay.

There will soon be a hearing to see if the city will also owe Bowen money to cover his attorney and court costs.

The city of Lebanon has not said what the decision means for the current Lebanon Police Chief or how they'll proceed.

NewsChannel 5 repeatedly attempted to contact the city's attorney, Andy Wright, but our calls were not returned.