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Former Celina Patrol Officer Speaks Out

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Former Celina Patrol Officer Speaks Out

A former Celina Patrol Officer said Mayor Luke Collins did in fact send him home until Chief Terry Scott returned from medical leave.

Justin Hancock said he was employed as a certified officer from June 2021 until December 1st of this year. Hancock said when Scott went on medical leave, he did his best as the only full-time officer to cover as many shifts as possible with the help of two part-time officers.

Hancock said when presented with the potential to lead the department, he did not feel fully equipped to do so and communicated that to Scott and Collins. He said there had been conversations about holding a meeting with the City Attorney, Collins, an insurance representative, and Sheriff Brandon Boone. After scheduling issues, Hancock said he had a phone call with Collins.

“He said multiple different things and then he told me to go home, he said come back when Terry returns,” Hancock said.”He never told me if it was paid time off, he never told me if I was without a job, if I was fired, or what have you.”

Hancock said Collins told him to get in touch with city employees, and that Collins hoped they could work everything out when Scott had healed and returned to office.

“I did, after this, put in a letter of resignation because if I’m not going to be there, with being a law enforcement officer and with some of the evidence in the PD I didn’t want it to fall back on me,” Hancock said. “Because there’s nobody there to manage everything.”

Hancock said he left not because he was unwilling to do his job as a patrol officer, but because he did not want the leadership responsibility as a relatively new officer.

“There are certain roads you have to take in law enforcement to be a police chief it’s not something you can just go into, you have to have years of training and years of experience,” Hancock said. “I was certified last September. So I’ve been a certified officer of a year. I have close to four years total in law enforcement including corrections as a 911 dispatcher and corrections officer. I didn’t feel I had the training to take that position. Well, I had expressed that to Terry and to Luke (…) We need someone at least in an assistant chief or sergeant position and I was willing to help find it, and I in turn was told just to do my job by the mayor.”

Hancock said that he does not believe he would return to the Celina Police Department. However, he said if the police department were to merge with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and he was offered a position as a deputy, he would take it into consideration.

Hancock said he believes the citizens of Celina deserve to be aware of what is going on.


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