Ridgetop Police officers fired, leaving Chief to stand alone

Posted: 11:23 AM, Jul 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-03 19:40:22-04

RIDGETOP, Tenn. (WTVF) — In a public meeting Tuesday evening, the city of Ridgetop voted on a budget that reduced the police department to just the chief of police.

Chief Bryan Morris said the department size is just one officer, himself.

This follows months of debate over the funding of the department and squabbles over a ticket quota that reportedly reached 210 traffic citations per month. The city wanted to use the money to fund the department.

Morris said when he refused to hand out that many tickets in the city of just about 2,000 people, the mayor and board voted to shut down the department .

"How they were wanting us to do it is just pull over as many people as we could," said former Ridgetop Police officer Alex Shotomied. "Obviously, we're not going to do that. I'm going to stop for probable cause, if you're breaking the law, I'm going to handle that. If I feel like you deserve a warning, I'm going to do that, if I feel like you deserve a citation I'm going to do that."

Shotomied lost his job Tuesday night and handed in his badge and gun for the second time in a month.

"Really the only budget that was not going good is the police departments," said Ridgetop Mayor Tony Reasoner. "The general fund that goes to the police department is $129,000 and we're not counting anything else from the revenue to support that."

Morris said that amount would not support the seven member department.

A judge filed a restraining order against the city, reopening the police department and asking the city not to interfere with police business.

Despite a packed room of dissenters at the meeting, the council still voted to reduce the police department’s budget.

Now, a lawsuit will be filed on behalf of the Ridgetop police. Shotomied also secured his own lawyer to bring a suit against the city.

"I've basically been fired twice without notice," he said.

Ridgetop's former mayor, Darrel Denton, said he would run in the next election since the situation has gotten so bad.

"It's really sad when elected officials don't care what citizens say," said Denton.

The City of Ridgetop did not respond to requests for a comment. City hall is closed on Wednesdays.