Covington mayor terminates police chief - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Covington mayor terminates police chief; Palmisano appeals

Richard Palmisano (File) Richard Palmisano (File)

Covington, La. - Mayor Mike Cooper says he's not happy with a lot of things involving the Covington Police Department under the command of Chief Richard Palmisano.

"Upon taking office I've given the Police Department and Chief Palmisano full support in making the changes and giving a positive image to our department and this city. At this point, we're in a position where that has not happened," says Mayor Mike Cooper.

Mayor Cooper says he met with Chief Palmisano earlier this week.  Friday morning, the Mayor decided to fire him.  He also gave Palmisano a letter outlining a series of allegations against him.

Chief Palmisano has decided to fight the termination. His attorney, Eric Hessler, fired off a letter of appeal to the Civil Service Commission.

"We filed an appeal because the chief firmly believes that in all the outlined incidents he acted appropriately. He disciplined officers when he found wrongdoing or identified wrongdoing after an investigation," says Hessler.

The mayor says, besides the actions of his police officers, there are other things that Chief Palmisano should be held accountable for.

"We're in a situation now where we're below our staffing levels. We are having a difficult time keeping police officers on our force and there's an attitude over there that can no longer be tolerated," says Mayor Cooper.

The mayor and police chief have had a rocky relationship since Mayor Cooper took office in 2011.  Just three months in office, Mayor Cooper placed Palmisano on administrative leave for several weeks.

The chief's attorney believes Mayor Cooper violated Palmisano's rights when he was terminated.

"We certainly don't believe that in this incident the chief had proper due process afforded to him. The process we do believe was in violation of state law and it certainly didn't give just rise to his termination," says Hessler.

Mayor Cooper says while Chief Palmisano appeals his termination, Capt. Jack West will be in charge of criminal investigations and internal affairs. He says Capt. Chris Lang will be in charge of the patrol division.

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