Brookport Mayor fires police chief

John Barr has been police chief in Brookport, Illinois for nearly four years. He said he was blind sided last Monday when he was approached by his officers and two state police officers and escorted to City Hall. Once there, he said he was handed a letter signed by the mayor terminating his job as police chief and was asked to hand over his badge.

“There was no discussion with me,” he said. “I was not asked any questions. The allegations made in this letter are hogwash. There’s no basis in my mind.”

Among the allegations he said is lack of leadership on the force, lack of training for new officers, lack of supervision which led to safety issues, misuse of department property, and low moral on the force. Mayor John Klaffer told Local 6 he had no comment about the allegations or his decision. 

The Mayor, under Illinois law, called a special meeting Monday night to discuss his decision with other council members, They talked for more than half and hour in closed session. Barr was not invited in or asked to answer any questions. 

Rick Abell, Brookport City Attorney, told Local 6 the mayor was acting within the letter of the law. In order to have the police chief reinstated, 2/3 of the council would have had to vote to do so and that did not happen. Barr said he is disappointed by the whole thing. 

“Tonight was kind of a letdown for me,” he said. “I thought I would at least get to appear in the closed session, get to answer their questions or at least tell him what I thought.” Barr said he plans to seek legal action for how her was terminated. 

Abell said Klaffer will be able to begin the process of appointing a new chief.

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