Chief Bob Terry's remedial schooling following the blitz of police civil rights violations since Jan. 1, 2003

For years, The Putnam Pit has been pointing out that the selection of Robert Terry to head the crisis-prone Cookeville Police Department from a field of better-qualified and more professional applicants was a mistake. Now, after a blitz of civil rights cases, the City is attempting to educate Terry through a battery of continuing education seminars that might help stop the losses that his department has caused.

Ironically, the classes for "hiring," "Firing" and "Performance Evaluation and Progressive Discipline" are exactly the courses City Manager Jim Shipley would benefit from since he hired Terry, refused to fire him despite cause, then whitewashed the chief's sub-standard performance with glowing evaluations that ignore the realities of Bob Terry's incompetence -- like sending pornography over the Internet, backing Eric Hall after the execution-style murder of the Smoak family puppy as they were handcuffed, kneeling on the side of the road and that nasty, sleazy alphanumeric pager message incident. Meanwhile, Cookeville has had no bigger problem than Eric Hall, yet even his Annual Job Performance Evaluation is steadfast in its denial that he has been a problem. Is the purpose of a job performance evaluation to create a record saying "nothing is wrong here?" Not until Shipley learns to hire, fire, evaluate and progressively discipline will it be fair to hold Terry accountable.  If Shipley had honestly evaluated Terry in the past, the department might have been better managed. As it is, the blood is on Shipley's hands, and therefore, on the hands of Mayor Womack for not replacing Shipley, Terry and City Attorney Thomas M. (T. Michael) "Mike" O'Mara.   


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