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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Police chief, deputy chief suspended

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  • Police Chief Keith Mann and Deputy Chief Eric Hamblin were placed on administrative leave with pay Tuesday from the top slots at the Ardmore Police Department.
    City Manager J.D. Spohn called the action the result of an "ongoing investigation into various operational aspects of the Ardmore Police Department."
    Refusing to detail the action, Spohn would only say, "I'm not at liberty to discuss confidential personnel issues."
    An email sent from the city manager to APD officers shed little additional light on the action. The email said Spohn believed his action was "appropriate," but maintained the reasons were "confidential." Officers were cautioned "speculation" would be unfair, and urged them to continue to do their jobs to protect the public.
    Spohn said Capt. Kevin Norris, a 16-year veteran of the APD, has been temporarily reassigned as "acting chief."
    Mann, a Sulphur native and 33-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department who had retired with the rank of major, took over as APD chief in February 2010. Mann was selected following a search for a new chief that began Aug. 24, 2009 when controversy forced Chief David Leonardo to announce his retirement. Former APD Çhief John Beene, a spokesman for a Citizens Response Committee who backed the local FOP's vote of no confidence against Leonardo, said the committee had sought signatures on a petition to oust the former chief.
    Gary Adams, retired Oklahoma Highway Patrol Chief of Patrol, accepted the bid to serve as interim chief while the search for a new chief was carried out.
    Tuesday afternoon Mann declined any immediate comment on the situation.
    "I will reserve my comments until after I have consulted with an attorney," the chief said.
    Hamblin, a 20-year APD veteran, was promoted to deputy chief in October 2012. A graduate of the 245th Session of the FBI National Academy, Hamblin was the department's Narcotics Officer of the Year in 2000-01, and APD Supervisor of the Year in 2005 and again in 2006.
    Hamblin also declined to comment on the suspension.
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