Concerns raised over resigned MPD officer's past employment reco - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Concerns raised over resigned MPD officer's past employment record

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MPD officer James Valentine resigned Tuesday, following an arrest over the weekend for something that reportedly happened at his ex-girlfriend's house. MPD officer James Valentine resigned Tuesday, following an arrest over the weekend for something that reportedly happened at his ex-girlfriend's house.
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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Many people are outraged that a Memphis police officer was brought back on the force after being fired and charged with a domestic dispute. That officer finally resigned after new charges came to light over the weekend.

MPD officer James Valentine resigned Tuesday, following an arrest over the weekend after a reported incident with his ex-girlfriend.

Prior to that, he was fired and rehired twice by Memphis Police Department.

But while looking at his personnel file, Action News 5 learned that Valentine was fired from MPD in 2011, following a domestic dispute.

So why and how was he hired back just a few months later? The answer might surprise you.

Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams says it is more common than you might think.

"Being that we're held to a higher standard, a lot of time the department or the city may feel that they are being proactive in separating themselves from officers even before a criminal investigation," said Williams.

Case in point, he says, based on Valentine's personnel file with internal affairs.

In 2005 he was fired after three different cases of alleged domestic violence.

In 2006, he reached a settlement with the city and he was reinstated.

In 2011, he was terminated a second time, following a domestic violence incident.

Again, he was reinstated, but the personnel files do not disclose the terms.

Williams says some officers are often disciplined or fired following allegations before the court system finds them guilty or not.

"I'm not trying to defend him, I'm just saying before we start convicting people there needs to be a thorough investigation because there are a lot of allegations being made that have not been proven yet," said Williams.

Williams says everyone, even police officers, are innocent until proven guilty. But many people think two prior terminations should be a flag for internal affairs.

"He should have been fired, after the first time, if it was me I would have been fired," said Tammye Lewis, Memphis. "I wouldn't have been given a third, fourth, and fifth chance. So, I think sometimes police officers go a little bit too far."

Keep in mind, internal affairs are the "fact finders" in these instances. They make a statement of charges. A chief deputy hears the case and the city attorney is a part of the process.

MPD says they now have a zero tolerance policy for domestic violence. Also, the administration is considering changes to the Civil Service Commision in order to ensure fair and timely decisions.

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