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Melvindale police chief fired over misconduct claims

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Melvindale city leaders have fired their police chief amid allegations of misconduct in office and “hostile, toxic environment” in the department.

Chad Hayse had been suspended with pay at a City Council meeting this month. But after a two-part disciplinary hearing that wrapped Tuesday night, members unanimously voted to terminate him, said Nicole Barnes, the council president.

The termination was effective immediately. Detective Lt. John Allen had been tapped to become the interim chief, but the city Public Safety Commission is expected to decide on a permanent replacement next month, Barnes said.

Hayse could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

The hearing was to address an amended complaint against Hayse that followed a third-party investigation, she said.

Some of the five counts in the complaint regarded negative statements Hayse allegedly posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page about city officials mulling a central dispatch, Barnes said. He was accused of lying to the council about composing the comments.

Another count: Hayse reportedly issued a memo to an officer saying the staffer “was not allowed to tow unless he got permission from his lieutenant supervisor on staff,” Barnes said. “The determination (of who was towed) was based on gender and age. According to the law, that is discrimination.”

The ousted chief also was accused of not following proper procedures spelled out in a city executive order when disciplining a corporal as well as violating Melvindale’s police conduct code by using “profanity, vulgarity and slanderous statements directed toward elected and appointed officials,” Barnes said.

She said Hayse was able to give testimony during the hearing and call witnesses. But the council “felt it was enough evidence to say he was guilty of all five charges,” Barnes said.

The decision is a move to resolve leadership issues, she said. “I think that the counts really caused tension in the Police Department and a few of the police officers came to me personally and asked that something be done. They felt like they were working in a hostile, toxic environment. They loved working for our city before, and suddenly now everything is changed.”