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Millersville cop under investigation amid questions about his state certification

Millersville PD Car.jpg
Posted at 4:48 PM, Mar 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-09 21:13:36-05

MILLERSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — State officials say they’re determining the next best steps, after NewsChannel 5 Investigates discovered that Millersville Assistant Police Chief Glenn Alred has been working as a full-time officer without the proper certification.

NewsChannel 5 first learned that Alred was not a certified police officer in Tennessee after he was promoted to assistant police chief in early December. We contacted the Tennessee POST Commission, the group charged with licensing officers in the state.

Officials told us law enforcement agencies in the state can structure their command staff any way they choose.

POST declined an interview but said that full-time officers, however, must meet all the training requirements and be certified through POST to exercise police powers in the state. Again, Alred is not certified.

State law goes as far as to say that you can be charged with a misdemeanor for paying a salary to a police officer who you know does not meet the qualifications according to POST Commission rules.

Alred was promoted to the full-time paid position as assistant police chief, but again he is still not certified.

Alred declined an interview but told NewsChannel 5 Investigates in a call that the city and POST are all aware of his status. He claimed some exemptions should apply to him because he just started full-time.

We checked with POST officials, who said they haven’t approved any exemption for Alred.

In fact, according to what we discovered, Alred is now required to go through police academy training once again to get certified before officially becoming a full-time officer.

That hasn’t stopped Alred who, since getting his promotion, initiated 19 traffic stops — 10 of which he appears to have done on his own without a certified officer on the scene.

Now to be clear, it's not illegal for a non-certified officer to make a traffic stop in the state of Tennessee.

When we spoke with the POST Commission, they said it would be up to lawmakers to make changes so only certified officers can make those stops.

Alred gave a verbal warning in all 10 stops, which Savannah Hill believes was Alred's way of keeping his name off paperwork as much as possible.

In the same way, he's almost nowhere to be found on any of her documents when Alred pulled her over in January.

“It just didn’t go how a normal traffic stop goes,” Hill said.

Hill remembers seeing two Millersville squad cars pull her over at the same time.

Alred was the first to approach her driver’s side window, while another officer approached her passenger side door. Meanwhile, a different officer sat in a separate squad car nearby.

Hill told us the car she was driving was registered under a friend’s name who at the time had a warrant out for their arrest.

Hill says these traffic stops usually end quickly once officers realize she doesn’t match the description of her friend.

This time was different.

Hill claims Alred was determined to find something wrong, even after confirming that she was not the same person registered to the vehicle.

When Hill requested a supervisor, she says Alred was quick to point out that he was in charge.

“He said, 'I’m the assistant chief. I’m the most supervisor it gets.' I said OK. I get it. I was kind of scared,” Hill said.

Ronal Serpas and David Hindman are both former police chiefs in Middle Tennessee.

Serpas, a former Metro Nashville police chief, is now a professor of criminology at Loyola University of New Orleans.

He’s had non-certified officers working administrative jobs, but the understanding was that they do not have police powers because of the risk.

"If they’re not certified and continue to (not) be certified by the state, I think a city would have a serious liability problem in front of them," Serpas said.

Hindman says confusion over what reserve officers can and cannot do, is why he once tried to end the program when he was the Millersville Police Chief.

"I love reserve officers. They're one of the backbones of the department, but reserve officers don't need to be patrolling by themselves,” Hindman said.

POST documents and even Millersville's policy handbook says reserves are supposed to work as support for already certified officers.

Alred called K9 units to search Hill’s vehicle where officers said they found drug paraphernalia. It wasn’t until she was placed under arrest that, Hill says, she had contact with any of the other officers on the scene.

"Oh, yeah. Only when they knew they were going to arrest me, did the other guy have anything to do with anything. (Alred) was in charge, until he couldn’t be,” Hill said.

It wasn't until we spoke to Hill for the first time that she found out that the man at her window that day was not a certified officer in the state of Tennessee.

"I was freaking out. I had to call my mom. She said her heart was pounding too. Cause I knew the whole time something was not right,” Hill said.

As far as we can tell, the call log from dispatch is the only document that shows Alred was even at the traffic stop.

Hill’s arrest affidavit says “officers observed a vehicle” and “officers approached the female,” but no mention of Alred’s name.

The affidavit was signed by a different officer Hill says she hardly spoke to and she claims that’s unacceptable.

She plans to fight her charges but has no idea who to expect in court.

At the very least, she expects a certified officer but knows even that’s not guaranteed.

“I don’t feel like it’s that crazy of a statement to make. That should be a given. I mean you don’t want somebody who’s not a trained pilot flying a plane,” Hill said.

Alred has been an officer in different departments across Middle Tennessee but hasn't been certified since 2008.

Ten years later in 2018, he joined the Millersville Police Department as a reserve or part-time officer — a position that’s unpaid because it doesn't require as much training, time commitment, or certification.

You do, however, get a police commission card which is virtually identical to what full-time officers get to exercise police powers.

"If a reserve officer gets into a firefight or does a use-of-force that goes wrong, not only is it the department’s responsibility, it’s the chief’s responsibility for allowing that to happen in the first place," Hindman said.

We know the POST Commission spoke with Alred and the Millersville Police Department.

That same day, Alred was moved back to part-time but is still being paid. Millersville has since hinted at potentially making changes to its reserve officer policy.