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MNPD Narcotics Sgt. Charged With Stealing $5K

Posted: 8:50 PM, Nov 15, 2017
Updated: 2017-11-16 04:55:03Z

A Metro Nashville Police Sergeant was arrested during a sting at a local motel for allegedly stealing more than $5,000.

Specialized Investigations Division (SID) Narcotics Sergeant James Landon Dunaway was arrested Wednesday by Metro Nashville Police detectives.

Dunaway was seen pocketing more the cash in a late afternoon sting set up by the police department’s Office of Professional Accountability at a local motel.  

He has been decommissioned of any police authority.

Dunaway and other officers went to the motel to conduct a drug investigation not knowing that the $28,000 and four pounds of marijuana placed about the room were put there under the authorization of Chief Steve Anderson.  

The room was also wired with undercover cameras. Dunaway was seen taking money from different locations in the room and placing it into his pocket. A total of $5,860 of the $28,000 was taken. There was no improper handling of the marijuana.

Wednesday's sting was the end of a nearly two-month secret investigation by the Office of Professional Accountability.

On September 13, Hermitage Precinct undercover detectives executed a drug search warrant at 750 Spence Enclave Way.  

Due to the large amounts of contraband, three pounds of cocaine, 11 pounds of marijuana and more than $70,000 cash found in the residence, Dunaway from the SID Narcotics Unit was among those who responded to assist. 

As the residence was being processed, one of the officers present observed Dunaway take some of the cash and put it into his pocket.  

The concerned officer subsequently told a police department supervisor what he saw causing Dunaway to come under scrutiny, unbeknownst to him.

“When an allegation of badge betrayal comes to my attention, it will be investigated fully,” Chief Anderson said.  “I am both angered and disappointed by what took place in the motel room this afternoon. The credibility of the Nashville Police Department in all that we do is of paramount importance. I am proud of the officer who came forward in September. This community should expect nothing less than a commitment to absolute professionalism by officers regardless of assignment.”

Chief Anderson said there was no indication from the investigation that any other detective at SID was involved in the alleged criminal activity.

Dunaway is a 16-year police department employee. He transferred to the SID Narcotics Unit in July 2015.  

Prior to that, he supervised the Madison Precinct’s Crime Suppression Unit beginning in January 2012.

The investigating detectives from the police department’s Criminal Investigations Division are not able to presently place a charge of official misconduct against Dunaway.

Under Tennessee law, an official misconduct charge can only result from a grand jury indictment.