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Lanett Police Chief terminated in unanimous vote

LANETT — Following an executive session that lasted for more than two hours, the Lanett City Council voted unanimously to terminate Police Chief Angie Spates.

Spates had been on administrative leave since late April. Major Johnny Wood has been the interim chief since that time.

Monday’s regular session lasted approximately 15 minutes. The executive session began at 6:15 p.m. and lasted until 8:25 p.m. Present in the council chamber were Mayor Kyle McCoy, Council Members Charles Looser, Jamie Heard, Angelia Thomas and Tony Malone; Shirley Motley is recovering from surgery and was not present. Also in the room were Spates, her attorney, Bob Meadows of Opelika, and Court Reporter Robbie Hyde.

Department heads, some police officers and media representatives waited in the foyer outside the council chamber for the executive session to conclude and the open session to resume.

At approximately 8:05 p.m., Mayor McCoy, Mr. Meadows exited the room. The mayor went to his office on the opposite side of city hall, Meadows waited outside for the open session to continue, and Spates, who had left the room in a rather grim demeanor, did not return.

She looked as if she knew what the vote was going to be.

At 8:25, Hyde opened the council chamber door and said that the open session could resume.

The mayor was summoned from his office, and the regular session resumed.

Mayor McCoy then asked Mayor Pro Tem Jamie Heard to call for the vote. Heard asked for a roll-call vote on a motion McCoy had previously made to terminate Spates. Malone, Thomas, Heard and Looser all voted in favor of that motion.

The meeting was then adjourned. After the meeting, Mayor McCoy told The Valley Times-News that the Police Committee would meet this week to discuss the qualifications they were seeking in a new chief. They’d come up with a job application and have it posted on line.

“We are not in a hurry to name someone,” McCoy said. “We want to get the best possible person we can.”

One of the concerns of Spates’ tenure was the turnover of police officers. When Spates was placed on leave, Lanett had a total of 27 officers. That’s now up to 30 with five more at the police academy.

Spates had been with the Lanett Police Department since 2012. She was reappointed chief when the new administration took office in 2016.